Johnny Manziel Spring League 2018 Debut: Time, Live-Stream Schedule and Preview

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 6, 2018

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel throws during drills at his alma mater during Texas A&M's football Pro Day in College Station, Texas, Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Johnny Manziel thrust himself back into the public eye over the last few months, but despite all of the comeback talk, no one is sure what he will bring to the football field.

The former Heisman Trophy winner, who flamed out in the NFL after two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, is trying to pave a redemption trail for himself, but what he has left on the gridiron remains to be seen.

Manziel's first opportunity to showcase his talents under center in pads comes Saturday in the opening game of the 2018 Spring League.

The Spring League games are played in Austin, Texas, with four rosters comprised of players with past collegiate and professional experience.

Manziel is a part of the South squad that features former Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk, former Auburn running back Ben Tate and former Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs.

       

Johnny Manziel Spring League Game Information

Date: Saturday, April 7

Time: 5:30 p.m. ET

Live Stream: B/R Live

   

Manziel's South team takes on the North team in the second of two games in Austin, Texas, Saturday. The East plays the West in the opening game of the doubleheader at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Before even making expectations for the 25-year-old's performance, you have to consider what he has been through since leaving Cleveland.

The former Texas A&M quarterback dealt with a litany of off-the-field issues, including coping with his depression through alcohol, a situation he described in detail in February on Good Morning America, per Jaclyn Hendricks of the New York Post.

"I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression," Manziel said. "When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid … sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone." 

Since appearing back in the public eye at the start of 2018, Manziel showed up at a few pro days, including one at his alma mater, but that is the extent of his on-field action.

Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Although he might be the biggest name on the South roster, Manziel is being treated as an equal to his teammates, and that shows when it comes to how much playing time each quarterback receives.

Manziel is expected to split snaps with Cody Keith, who spent time in the CFL after his collegiate career at East Carolina, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert.

While it is easy to get caught up in the fan fare surrounding Manziel's return to the field because of the success he achieved in college, the Spring League is the first step in a long process that might not even end up with the 25-year-old returning to the NFL.

Even if he succeeds in the Spring League and moves on to more success elsewhere, it may be hard for NFL front offices to take him seriously after the comments he made about his situation in Cleveland to the Dan Patrick Show, which were put into text by Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk.

"If Cleveland did any of their homework they would have known I wasn’t a guy who came in every day and watched film," Manziel said. "I wasn’t a guy who really knew the X’s and O’s of football.”

Manziel admitted on Twitter that the Browns weren't the right fit for him, but he also went on to take blame for the situation that arose in Cleveland.

With skepticism and intrigue running rampant, the best thing Manziel can do Saturday is put on a show when he is on the field and hope there is a team out there watching that might give him a second chance down the road.

  

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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