Trust. Small word, big meaning. If you have it in someone, you never want to lose it. Once it is lost, it is very difficult to regain. There are certainly different levels of trust.
The trust that I speak of circles modern day athletes, and specifically Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback that loves to party like a frat boy. When Manziel was at Texas A&M, he captured the imagination of this country with his whirling-dervish, jaw-dropping, highlight grabbing style. We fell in love with his defiant money gesture toward the tale end of his career. He was a must follow on social media as he not only played hard, but lived and partied hard away from the football field. He was Johnny Football.
On draft night in May of 2014, Manziel notably texted the Browns decision makers and told them, “I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there. I want to wreck this league together.'"
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He had moxie, guts, charisma and the talent, some believed, to thrive as an NFL signal caller. He was small for sure, but we have seen smaller stature quarterbacks like Drew Brees thrive in the NFL.
Flash forward to late November of 2015, when videos of Manziel partying in Austin surfaced during the Browns bye week. Mind you, Manziel went to voluntary rehab this past January and was released in April.
When the video surfaced, Manziel reportedly lied to the Browns about the timing of the video and urged his friends to lie about the timing of the video as well. After the latest infraction, he was dropped from starter to third-string quarterback in Cleveland.
So, I brought up the word trust for a reason.
As those around Manziel continue to pat him on the back and tell him it’s OK and excuse his behavior, I ask you - would you trust Manziel?. As the Browns continue to wait for him to grow up and to grow out of it, would you? This is not a question of talent, it is more a question of risk. Or as I like to put it, is the juice worth the squeeze? I will put it to you this way: would you put your career in the hands of Johnny Football?
If you worked your entire professional life to become a GM or a head coach, do you think it would be worth the gamble to put your career in the hands of a young man who seems to be more comfortable hitting up the club scene than hitting the playbook? He admitted to some rookie mistakes after his first season, but here we are. Those mistakes continue to happen.
This week he celebrated his 23rd birthday. On Sunday he also watched as Austin Davis got the start for the Browns against the rival Bengals. Manziel has nobody to blame but himself. It was his choices that put him in this situation and it will be his decisions that will determine his opportunities moving forward.
There is no question the talent is there. But, does he deserve the trust of the Browns or any other organization in the NFL? Do you trust that he will make the right choices moving forward? That he will start to act like an adult instead of a frat boy - cutting loose on a college campus? If you were a GM, would you trust bringing him in to be a solution? If you were a Head Coach, would you trust that he is doing everything he can to be the best he can be? If you were a teammate, would you trust that he is putting in all of the necessary work to put you and your teammates in the best possible position to win? If you were an owner, would you trust him being the face of your franchise?
For Manziel, it is not about talent. It comes down to trust.