Johnny Manziel has lived more life at 25 than most people do in a lifetime. He was brilliant, then he was a punchline, and then he disappeared.
There were times over the past few years when we weren’t even sure he was going to be around much longer, much less make a return to football. But he’s crawled out of that dark place and back into the glare of the spotlights and laid it all out on the table. Anyone who’s faced down those demons knows how hard it is to speak about it even just to one person. Johnny’s opening up to the entire world.
This is not about football. Football is his goal, and football is the wonderful by-product that he’s graced us with: the memories, the moments. But beneath the veneer of Johnny Football we tended (himself included, admittedly) to forget about the “Johnny” part. This was a human life that was wasting away and has now stopped the slide and is seeking redemption.
The odds dictate that there is probably someone in your life, perhaps even someone that you are close to, that faces down these same ghosts: substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, or any number of mental disorders. Talk to them, tell them you care about them. Most of the time, they won’t respond. The best you’ll get is no answer at all. The worst is much worse than that. But the important thing is to never give up on them and let them know you believe in them. Sometimes, eventually, it will lead them to believe in themselves.
Comeback season doesn’t have to end when Johnny is back.