Johnny Manziel: Spring League Debut Disappointing but a’Huge Step’

Johnny Manziel played in The Spring League for two quarters, finishing 9-of-15 for 82 yards with a touchdown and three sacks. Afterward, Manziel gave himself a mixed review.

“It’s disappointing, some of the things that happened, but nevertheless, it’s a huge step for me,” he said, per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “I put pads back on. A lot of people wrote me off just to even get to this point. I’m definitely emotional about it. I’m definitely happy about it. This isn’t the end goal for me, but I’m having fun again. I have a smile on my face.”

Manziel, 25, was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, but a combination of mediocre play on the field and concerns off it left him without a job after two seasons. He is now attempting a comeback and previously threw at the pro days for both San Diego and Texas A&M.

Manziel still appears to have the tools that intrigued the NFL the first time around.

“I’ve never been around Johnny Manziel until this moment of time, but I see a very quick arm. I see very active eyes,” Spring League coach Terry Shea told Seifert. “He sees things, and those classic Johnny Manziel plays, particularly when he’s on the move, I’ve seen those come up here.”

“I never got too concerned with it,” Manning said during a news conference Monday. “We all know the talent Odell has and what he brings to the field. I look forward to playing with him this year and for years to come.”

Joining his teammates for offseason workouts will not only help lessen the perceived tension between sides, but it also gives Beckham insurance on his current $8.5 million pay for 2018 — if a player is injured at the team facility they are eligible to receive their entire salary.

How long Beckham will attend voluntary workouts remains to be seen. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport previously reported that OBJ wouldn’t set foot on the field without a new contract. Given that Phase One doesn’t include on-field instructions, the receiver isn’t yet breaking from that plan. Beckham could work out with the team much of the offseason before holding out once training camp rolls around.

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