The waiting is over: The Browns have released Johnny Manziel.
Cleveland broke off its two-year relationship with the the 22nd pick in the 2014 draft Friday, ending a stint that was marred by off-field issues that far outweighed on-field production.
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The Browns waited until the start of the NFL's new year to release Manziel due to salary cap considerations, but they telegraphed the move with this Feb. 2 statement from new executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown:
Manziel, 23, will look to reboot his career elsewhere, but it may be difficult to get a fresh start.
The troubled 2012 Heisman Trophy winner was investigated for allegedly striking ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley and threatening to kill them both in January, but no charges were filed. It marked the second time since October that Manziel was under review by the league for a domestic incident. He was cleared of wrongdoing after police were called when he and Crowley got into a heated roadside argument last October in Avon, Ohio.
After the second incident with Crowley, Manziel's father told The Dallas Morning News he didn't believe Manziel would make it to his 24th birthday without getting help.
In January 2015, Manziel entered rehab for a lengthy stay and seemed ready for a fresh start. But aside from the incidents with his ex-girlfriend, there were January 2016 shenanigans that involved an alleged trip to Vegas when he was supposed to be in concussion protocol. The Browns defended their handling of Manziel's late-season concussion, countering an NFL Network report that they lied about the injury to cover up the troubled quarterback showing up intoxicated for practice.
"It's a sad end to the story in Cleveland for Johnny," Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas recently told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "He's a guy that personally I like. I believe he has a lot of talent. He's got the talent to be an NFL quarterback, but it obviously hasn't worked out so far."
The Manziel off-field circus started early. One month after he was drafted, Manziel -- who was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy while at Texas A&M -- was photographed swigging champagne as he floated on an inflatable white swan in a nightclub's pool in Austin, Texas. It was the first of many photos of Manziel that went viral on social media, but that one was the most memorable for being both bizarre and brash.