Speaking with TMZ Sports on Thursday, Williams suggested Manziel should "get some help" if he wants to play and said taking some time off might be for the best. The former Heisman Trophy winner said his time away from the NFL was the best thing that could have happened to him.
"When I went to go play in Canada, it got my mind straight, I found my love for football again, I came back and I had another five years to my career," he said.
Williams missed the entire 2006 NFL season after repeatedly running afoul of the league's substance-abuse policy. He also briefly retired from the league in 2004 after failing a drug test. The period away from football has long been a time Williams has spoken fondly of, calling it the "most positive thing I ever did in my whole, entire life" in a 2006 interview with Perry Lefkoe of the Toronto Sun.
Manziel, 23, has been mired in controversy related to substance abuse since arriving in the NFL. He checked himself into a rehab center in January last year for alcohol addiction but repeatedly relapsed throughout the 2015 season. Mike Silver of NFL Network reported Manziel showed up to a December practice drunk, and the Browns placed him into concussion protocol as part of a cover-up.
The team categorically denied that report.
"Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of Dec. 30 and complained of concussion symptoms," a Browns spokesman said in a statement, per A.J. Perez of USA Today. "He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league's concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until Jan. 12 after being cleared by the independent neurologist."
Manziel's ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, also filed a protective order against Manziel in January, saying he struck her on multiple occasions and caused a temporary loss of hearing.
"Fearful for my life, I hit (Manziel) several times, hoping I could back out of the car," Crowley said in the affidavit, per FoxNews.com, adding Manziel "threw me off of him and I hit my head on the car window and I fell into the passenger floorboard."
No charges have been filed in the case. Pat McManamon of ESPN.com reported the Browns plan on releasing Manziel when the league year opens in March. The team also released a statement condemning Manziel's actions, saying he "undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization."
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