The former first-round pick was in his home state of Texas on Thursday, where he held his first public autograph signing since being cut by the Browns in March 2016. At the signing, which was held about 20 miles outside of Houston, Manziel had a message for any NFL team that might consider signing him: He’s taking this comeback seriously, and he’s ready to give 100 percent to football again.
“If I played in a preseason game, I’d treat it like the Super Bowl,” Manziel told several autograph seekers at his event.
Manziel didn’t speak to the media at his autograph session, so Will Brinson and I ponied up the $99 that it cost to get an autograph, which gave us the chance to hear a few of his thoughts.
The 24-year-old said that he’s pretty much open to signing with any team that would be willing to take a chance on him.
“I just want to get back on the field,” Manziel said.
Although Manziel didn’t say, we’re guessing that list of teams he would sign with doesn’t include the Browns.
The former Browns quarterback hasn’t played in an NFL game since Week 16 of 2015, when he was Cleveland’s starter in a 17-13 loss to the Chiefs. One week later, Manziel skipped the Browns’ regular-season finale to take a trip to Las Vegas. Two months after the Vegas trip, the Browns decided that enough was enough and released Manziel, even though he had two years left on his rookie deal.
After being released in March, Manziel went wild. As a matter of fact, the 24-year-old was partying so hard that he actually got sued for it.
In April, Manziel and his friends allegedly trashed a $4.5 million house in Los Angeles, managing to do $32,000 worth of damage, which led to a $40,000 lawsuit. However, Manziel seems to have gotten the partying out of his system, because he’s been keeping a low profile for the past few months.
On Jan. 19, Manziel went on a tweet storm where he promised to stop being a “douche.” He also added that he hasn’t been “this happy” in a long time.
During his autograph signing Thursday, Manziel looked as healthy as he has been in over a year. He also looked to be near his football weight, just eight months after looking shockingly skinny in a photo that was taken in May.
At his autograph session, most of the fans there said they would be more than happy to see Manziel sign with the Texans. Quarterbacks are a hot commodity in the NFL, and if Manziel can prove that he’s serious about this comeback, there’s almost a guarantee that at least one team will eventually give him a chance.
The beleaguered quarterback still has plenty of supporters, which became evident at his signing because more than 200 fans showed up to pay $99 for an autograph at the Stadium Signatures store in Katy.
During his two years in Cleveland, Manziel put together a 2-6 record as a starter, and although that sounds bad, it’s really not if we’re going by Browns standards: Manziel won more games in 2015 (two) than every Browns quarterback combined to win in 2016 (one).