Johnny Manziel says he'll be back
1:08 | NFL
Johnny Manziel says he'll be back
SI Staff
Wednesday March 16th, 2016

Two young, supremely talented young athletes. Both major award-winners at the college level and the owners of distinctively similar nicknames. But that is where their common ground ends and their careers take dramatically different paths, one an unfolding tragedy and the other a growing triumph.

Quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel is only 23, but the former Heisman Trophy winner has already been the center of enough misconduct to last a lifetime, including dalliance with drugs, being released by the Cleveland Browns and charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Hobey Baker Award-winning winger Johnny "Hockey" Gaudreau, 22, of the Calgary Flames has established himself as an undersized NHL star and admirable person in his community.

Here's a timeline of their diverging paths during the past five years:

•​ Johnny Football (06/29/12): Arrested for fighting, fake ID

Kelly Kline/Getty Images

While enrolled at Texas A&M, quarterback Johnny Manziel, then 19, is arrested and taken to jail after fighting and being discovered with a fake ID. He is charged with three misdemeanors—disorderly conduct, failure to identify and possessing a false identification card, taken into custody around 2 a.m. and released in the afternoon.

Manziel later pleaded guilty to his failure to identify charge, and he was ordered to pay the maximum fine of $2,000 in addition to court fees. He was briefly suspended by Texas A&M but reinstated to the team after an appeal.

Johnny Hockey (6/25/11): Drafted by the Flames

Going against their usual "size matters" philosophy, the Calgary Flames chose 5' 9', 157-pound forward Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College in the fourth round (104th) of the NHL Entry Draft. “The guy who was very much in Gaudreau’s corner and felt we just had to take him was (director of amateur scouting) Tod Button,” then-Flames GM Jay Feaster later said. “Tod felt very, very strongly about it. He kept saying, ‘I know he’s not very big, but I’m telling you this kid can play and he’s the most exciting player we’ve seen.’ I said, ‘If you feel that strongly about him as a player, let’s do it right now."

Of note, Feaster was the GM in Tampa Bay when undersized Martin St. Louis (5' 8", 180) played a huge role. “I didn’t need to be convinced about a small guy, because we had won a Stanley Cup in Tampa,” Feaster said. “Nobody had a bigger heart.”

•​ Johnny Hockey (04/07/12): National champion

One year after helping the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints win the Clark Cup, Gaudreau led Boston College to its third national championship in five years. The 18-year-old notched 21 goals and 44 points in 44 games to top the freshman scoring charts during the regular season. He was named the MVP of the Hockey East championship tournament, then went on to score a memorable goal late in the third period of BC's 4–1 title clincher over Ferris State.

Johnny Football (12/8/12): Wins Heisman

Kelly Kline/Getty Images

Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, garnering 474 first-place votes and 2,029 points from a panel of media members and former Heisman winners. "I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Marys to my dad," Manziel said. He later filed a request to trademark his nickname with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

SI VAULT: Oral History of Johnny Football (12/10/12)

•​ Johnny Hockey (01/05/13): Junior achievement

Gaudreau was heartbroken when he was cut by Team USA ahead of the 2012 World Junior Championships. “I really wanted to make that team and thought I deserved to make it,” he told the Calgary Sun. “I went back to [Boston College] and tried to show the coaching staff that cut me that they made a huge mistake.” He proved his point a year later, making the squad and scoring a tournament-leading seven goals to lead the upstart Americans to the gold medal in Ufa, Russia.

Johnny Football (06/16/13): Tweets about wanting to leave A&M

Manziel tweeted that he “can’t wait to leave college station ... whenever it may be” at 12:38 a.m. local time. Although he deleted the tweet, some followers took screenshots of the post. He followed up the deletion with a second one that stated: “Don’t ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes.”

•​ Johnny Hockey (4/12/13): Hobey Baker finalist

David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated

Gaudreau, who led the nation in points per game (1.46), finished third in the voting for college hockey's top player, behind St. Cloud State forward Drew LeBlanc and Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell. Gaudreau's stellar sophomore season at BC included Hockey East Player of the Year, Hockey East first team, American Hockey Coaches Association All-America first team, and All-New England MVP honors. “I think it’s a great compliment [to Gaudreau] because the other two players are seniors,” said BC coach Jerry York. “[The Hobey Baker is] more of a senior award. For him to be one of the final three, I think it’s well-documented just how good of a player he is.”

“As a sophomore, I never thought I’d get the chance to be in this kind of room, be in this kind of environment with two other great players,” Gaudreau said at the award ceremony. “I’ve just been taking it all in.” 

Gaudreau's great season did much to popularize his "Johnny Hockey" nickname, which was inspired by Manziel's during his run to the Heisman. 
Johnny Football (07/15/13): Leaves Manning Passing Academy

Manziel left the Manning Passing Academy early, reportedly due to illness, which caused him to miss meetings and practices. Camp officials disputed reports that Archie Manning sent him home for partying. Manziel’s father told The Dallas Morning News afterwards that his son was recovering from dehydration.

•​ Johnny Football (07/26/13): Manziel spotted partying

Video surfaced of Manziel getting kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party after the quarterback, then 20, showed up. TMZ reported that Manziel was asked to leave in fear of punishment from the school for underage drinking.

The next day, attendees at a different Texas party shared pictures on Twitter of Manziel sporting a New York Jets Tim Tebow jersey.

SI VAULT: Johnny on the Spot (8/5/13)

Johnny Hockey (8/13): Return to BC

Speculation that Gaudreau would leave the Eagles to sign with the Flames and begin his NHL career proved unfounded, though Calgary had traded veteran star Jarome Iginla in March and was clearly going with a youth movement in which Gaudreau was expected to play a key role. Instead he arrived on campus in August for his junior season, citing the chance to play with his younger brother, Matt.

•​ Johnny Football (08/28/13): Subject of NCAA autographs investigation

Manziel met with NCAA investigators in August regarding allegations that he was paid for autographs during the off-season. Reports surfaced that the Heisman Trophy winner had allegedly agreed to sign the autographs in exchange for a five–figure flat fee while in Miami for the BCS National Championship. On Aug. 28, the NCAA and Texas A&M released a joint statement announcing that Manziel had been suspended for the first half of the Aggie’s season opener against Rice.

Johnny Hockey: (04/11/14): Hobey Baker Award and NHL debut

Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

One day after his BC Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs, Gaudreau was honored as the top player in college hockey. He led the nation in goals (36), assists (44) and points (80) in 40 games. He also led the way with seven game-winning goals and finished with a +41 rating. While he was appreciative, his thoughts were elsewhere. "It's an individual award and I'd rather be playing for a national championship," Gaudreau said. "But I wouldn't have done this without my teammates. I've had a special three years here, an exciting three [years]. I'll miss it a lot."

On that day, the Flames announced that they had signed Gaudreau to a three-year entry level deal with an average annual value, including bonuses, of $1.85 million. "Congratulations to Johnny on capping off an amazing college season with the Hobey Baker Award, a very well deserved achievement," Calgary's hockey operations president Brian Burke said in a statement. "Johnny is a gifted player with high end skill and smarts."

Two days later, Gaudreau's legend grew when he scored in his first NHL game ... on his first NHL shot. “I was just at the right place at the right time,” he said. “It was a nice shot by [defenseman Chris Breen. I just happened to be standing at the right spot, so I had a nice little tap-in goal.” It was the only tally that Calgary would put on the board in a 5–1 loss to the Canucks. “I thought I had an all right game,” Gaudreau said. “I just wish we’d come out with a win.”

•​ Johnny Hockey (05/20/14): International Man of Mystery

Gaudreau was drafted to play for Team USA at the 2014 World Hockey Championships. He did his country proud, registering 10 points in eight games. And while he only tallied twice, he might have scored the goal of the tournament in USA's 5–4 win over Germany.


Johnny Football: A new Manziel?

After two seasons in College Station, Manziel declared for the NFL draft.

“I was a kid who made some goofball decisions,” he told the Houston Chronicle ahead of the first round on May 8. “That's been part of my journey. Maybe it's part of the whole Johnny Football deal that I'm trying to get away from. I'm trying to show people I've grown up and I've learned from my experiences. I feel like you're a stupid person if you continue to make the same wrong decisions.​

“I don't want to hear, 'Oh, anybody in his situation would have been doing the same thing.' I'm 100 percent responsible for my actions.”

Elsa/Getty Images

Manziel was selected 22nd overall by the Browns. He texted the team during the draft and asked them to take him, so they can “wreck this league” together. As he walked on stage to shake the commissioner's hand, he made his trademark money hand gesture. Later that night, he was spotted partying at a nightclub in New York. On June 17, he signed a four-year deal with Cleveland worth $8.247 million with a $4.32 million signing bonus.

“I’m not going to change who I am for anybody,” Manziel said during an NFL Rookie Symposium clinic for kids. “I'm growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again, but am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don't think that's the way I should live my life and I'm not going to do it.”

In July, more controversial photos surfaced of Manziel partying, and Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer later reported that the Browns had become concerned with Manziel's antics.

SI VAULT: Who's Johnny? (5/5/14)

•​ Johnny Football (08/19/14): Manziel gives the finger

After showing up late for a training camp meeting, Manziel created his biggest NFL controversy to date when he gave the Redskins bench the middle finger during a preseason game on national television, drawing a $12,000 fine.

The next day, Brian Hoyer was named the Browns’ starting quarterback.

Johnny Hockey (09/18/14): First training camp

Coming off a highlight-filled performance at an annual prospect tournament, Gaudreau entered his first pro camp bearing the weight of high expectations. The team worked hard to dispel them. "Let's try to let him be a 21-year-old kid if we can," Flames general manager Brad Treliving told USA Today. "There is no thought that Johnny has to be the savior here in the first week." It was apparent though that he could help the team immediately, prompting the ultimate show of respect: Gaudreau was allowed to trade in his camp jersey (53) for one more befitting an NHLer (13).

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•​ Johnny Football (11/24/14): Cleveland apartment skirmish

A Browns fan approached Manziel and his entourage in the lobby of an apartment building in downtown Cleveland. A fight broke out, and the fan told police he was beaten up by the quarterback’s crew. A security guard was also injured. The fan later apologized.

Johnny Hockey (11/08/14): Getting the hang of it

It took Gaudreau six games to get on the board during his rookie season, but once he got the hang of it he started rolling, racking up 12 points over the next 10 contests. His chemistry with new linemate Jiri Hudler was undeniable, but his tendency to defer to the veteran became a problem. Coach Bob Hartley took Gaudreau aside and asked him to shoot a little more often. "[He] took it as a pro," Hartley told The Globe and Mail. “He wants to learn so badly. He’s a great student of the game. He has many parts of the game that he has to address, but he wants to do it. He doesn’t want to be a one-trick pony. He wants to play the game the right way, and that’s very refreshing.”

•​ Johnny Football (12/14/14): Manziel says he'll change

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Manziel made his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals, throwing for just 80 yards and two interceptions in a 30–0 blowout loss. A week or so later, he told reporters that he needed to take his job more seriously. On Dec. 27, he missed a team walkthrough and later admitted he had gone out the night prior. On Dec. 29, with the Browns' season over, Manziel said he wanted to take responsibility for his behavior.

"It's about actions, it's about being accountable instead of looking like a jackass," he said.

Johnny Hockey (12/29/14): Into the Calder discussion

Gaudreau was named the NHL's Rookie of the Week, the honor coming on the heels of a pair of games in which he scored five goals, three of them against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. The natural hat trick made Gaudreau, 21, the youngest Flame to notch a hattie since Joe Nieuwendyk in 1987. The offensive spurt left him only five points behind rookie scoring leader Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators and made Gaudreau a serious contender for rookie of the year honors.

•​ Johnny Hockey (1/14/15): All-Star prop

Dave Sandford/Getty Images

“You’re always going to have people on you about your size, so do what you can to be in on the joke,” Gaudreau wrote in The Player's Tribune. He did that in memorable fashion in Columbus during his first All-Star appearance. Moments after Ryan Johansen enlisted a grade schooler to help him win the Breakaway Challenge, Gaudreau was approached by Jake Voracek. “[He] asked if he could use me as a prop for his shot,” Gaudreau said. “I thought it was hilarious.” 

His star clearly on the rise, Gaudreau caused a stir when he sought to trademark his nickname in the U.S. and Canada. "We were concerned that people were going to abuse the Johnny Hockey name, coming out with Johnny Hockey shirts and stuff, and we wanted to make sure that did not occur," Lewis Gross, Gaudreau's agent, explained to TSN. "We felt that Johnny was going to be a special player, and if he takes off the way we felt he could, he has the potential to have endorsement opportunities that could be very valuable."

Johnny Football (01/28/15): Manziel checks into treatment

By entering treatment, Manziel's actions are backing up his intentions

In early February of 2015, Manziel checked into a treatment facility. “We respect Johnny's initiative in this decision and will fully support him throughout this process,” Browns GM Ray Farmer wrote in a statement. “Our players' health and well-being will always be of the utmost importance to the Cleveland Browns. We continually strive to create a supportive environment and provide the appropriate resources, with our foremost focus being on the individual and not just the football player. Johnny's privacy will be respected by us during this very important period and we hope that others will do the same.”

In April, Manziel checked out of rehab after a 10–week stay.

•​ Johnny Football  (02/04/15): Kevin Sumlin: Texas A&M could have done more

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin acknowledged there are things Texas A&M could have done better in its handling of Manziel. “There really hasn’t been anybody like Johnny,” he said. “I think everybody looks back on [it] and says what they would have done, what should have been done. That's a heck of a lot easier than dealing with it as it goes on … certainly, there are things that we put in place, that we did with Johnny that we were able to help him, and there are certainly some things we feel like we could have done better."

Johnny Hockey (04/23/15): Calder Trophy finalist

Gaudreau dominated the highlight reels through his debut campaign, leading all NHL rookies in goals (24), assists (40), points (64), power-play goals (8) and average ice time per game (17:43). He capped it all off by being honored as a finalist for the league's Rookie of the Year honor. “There’s a ton of good rookies this year,” he told the Calgary Sun. “And it’s exciting to be part of a group like that.” He eventually finished second behind Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Two days later, Gaudreau was the difference maker in Calgary's playoff series-clinching 7–4 win over the Canucks. The Flames fell behind 3–0 early in Game 6, but Gaudreau fired up the offense, tallying a goal and an assist to key the comeback.

Gerry Thomas/Getty Images

•​ Johnny Football (06/01/15): Heckled at a golf tournament

While attending the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament, an 18-year-old fan repeatedly badgered Manziel for an autograph and then heckled him. Manziel reportedly handled himself well, but spiked a water bottle in the fan’s direction in frustration.

Two weeks later, Manziel apologized through the media for all the distractions he had caused as a rookie and announced he would stop making his signature money sign with his hands while on the field.

Johnny Hockey (05/06/15): Life in the fast lane

No doubt he would have preferred to be hitting top speed on the ice, but once the Flames were eliminated from the playoffs, Gaudreau got his kicks racing around a Calgary go-kart track with teammates Sean Monahan and Josh Jooris. Gaudreau had also announced that he would be returning to Boston College to study communications. “Obviously, my mom wanted me to go back to school,” he told the Calgary Sun. “But she’s happy for me. She’s going to make me go back to school and get my degree, for sure.”


Cruising around a little with @joshjooris @monahan20

A photo posted by Johnny Gaudreau (@johngaudreau03) on

• Johnny Football (10/12/15): Domestic incident in car

After leading Cleveland to its first victory of the season on Sept. 20 while replacing the concussed Josh McCown, Manziel faced questioning from police after an incident involving dangerous driving on the shoulder of the road and an alleged domestic incident with his girlfriend. He admitted to drinking earlier in the day. No charges are filed.

Johnny Hockey (10/21/15): Milk and cookies

How wholesome is this kid? Gaudreau was the face of an ad campaign in Canada which asked hockey fans how they get ready for the game. Oreos and a glass of milk did the trick for Johnny.

•​ Johnny Football: (11/07/15): Caught partying in College Station

Two days after making a start in Cincinnati, Manziel was caught partying on camera in College Station after attending a Texas A&M game as an honorary captain.

After videos surfaced of him partying on multiple nights during the bye week, Manziel was benched by Browns coach Mike Pettine, who called his behavior “a concern.”

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported that Manziel lied to him about what happened in Texas, and initially told him that the video was old. Manziel was demoted to third string, but regained the starting job on Dec. 13 after two weeks on the bench.

Johnny Hockey (12/1/15): Goals and Dreams

Alongside teammate Mason Raymond, Gaudreau delivered 50 sets of equipment courtesy of the NHLPA's Goals and Dreams Foundation to a minor hockey program in Cochrane, Alberta. The two Flames stuck around for some pizza and a Q&A with 36 pee wee players. “I was in the same shoes as these kids not too long ago, and I remember getting to see NHL hockey players was always my dream, so it’s great for me to come out and do the same thing a lot of NHL players did for me,” Gaudreau told the Calgary Sun.

•​ Johnny Football (11/17/15): Caught partying on video, misses concussion check

The Fall of Johnny Football

After Manziel started in a loss to the Chiefs, a new video surfaced online depicting him singing along to rapper Future alongside another individual who appears to be consuming alcohol. Days later, Pettine announced that Manziel sustained a concussion against Kansas City and would miss the team’s Week 17 game against Pittsburgh.

Manziel reportedly spent the night before the game partying in Las Vegas while wearing a disguise. SI’s Peter King reported that Manziel missed a concussion checkup at the team HQ the morning of the game, and was unavailable on his cell phone the entire day. The Browns did not comment on his whereabouts. He is later fined for missing the treatment.

Even after this incident, the partying didn't stop: A new video surfaced showing Manziel living it up in Dallas on Jan. 26.

Johnny Hockey (01/18/16) Hanging with sick kids

The grind doesn't leave Gaudreau much time to himself during the season, but what he does have he's proud to share with the community. Spending time with kids fighting various illnesses is one way he gives back.

•​ Johnny Football (1/30/16): Police investigation into possible assault

In late January, it was reported that police were investigating an early–morning altercation involving Manziel and an ex-girlfriend. A preliminary investigation determined “a possible assault” had occurred, but Manziel was not charged. His ex-girlfriend told police she was concerned about the quarterback’s well-being. Police used a helicopter to search for Manziel, and later determined that the quarterback was safe. The NFL reportedly looked into the matter.

Johnny Hockey (01/31/16): All-Star heroics

Gaudreau's speedy, shifty style was custom-made for the NHL's new three-on-three All-Star Game format in Nashville. He notched a goal and two assists as Team Pacific upset the heavily favored Team Central in the Western Conference clash, then delivered a dedicated, two-way effort in the surprising 1–0 win over Team Atlantic to seal the first-ever ASG championship.

•​ Johnny Football (02/02/16): Browns to reportedly release Manziel

Peter King: Browns ‘so done’ with Manziel; QB wants to go to Cowboys

​​“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field,” executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement. “Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules.”

Shortly after, Pat McManamon of ESPN reported that Manziel would be released in March.

Johnny Hockey (02/17/16): Contract talks

With his entry-level contract coming to a close this summer, Gaudreau's representative flew to Calgary to negotiate what's likely to become the biggest deal in Flames history. But as life-changing riches beckoned, Gaudreau preferred to remain focused on his game. “[A new contract] is just something to get out of the way,” he told the Calgary Sun. “Whatever is best for the Flames and whatever is best for us, we’ll come to an agreement and we’ll figure something out.” It's thought that the eight-year, $60-million deal given to Vladimir Tarasenko by the St. Louis Blues last summer could set the parameters for Gaudreau's new agreement.

•​ Johnny Football (02/04/16): Reports of Manziel threatening to kill ex-girlfriend

Manziel's disturbing situation keeps getting darker

WFAA in Dallas reported that Manziel threatened to kill himself and his ex-girlfriend, identified as Colleen Crowley, during the apparent assault committed by the quarterback the week before. ​​According to the report, Manziel hit Crowley and dragged her by her hair before forcing her into a car.

"He grabbed me by my hair and threw me back into the car and got back in himself," she reportedly told police. "He hit me with his open hand on my left ear for jumping out of the car. I realized immediately that I could not hear out of that ear, and I still cannot today, two days later."

Johnny Hockey (02/09/16): Scratched

Looking to set an example, Flames coach Bob Hartley benched Gaudreau, Monahan and Lance Bouma for a game against the Maple Leafs after the trio arrived late for practice. Gaudreau not only heard about it from his coach—he got it from his dad, Guy, as well. “Sean, John, and Lance are guys the Calgary Flames are looking to develop around … he’s setting an example,” the senior Gaudreau told the Calgary Sun. “(The Flames) want their new players to come in and see that, ‘Hey, they’re doing it this way, so I have to do it this way too.’ I fully support (the Flames) doing that.” The younger Gaudreau apologized to teammates, then chipped in two assists against the Sharks in his return to action.

•​ Johnny Football (02/05/16): Manziel’s father says he fears for son's life

Manziel’s father said he fears that his son may not live to see the age of 24 if he is not rehabilitated. “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday,” Paul Manziel told The Dallas Morning News.

He added that his son has declined to enter rehabilitation twice in the past week, and that the 23-year-old could be suicidal without treatment or charges.

Johnny Hockey (02/15-02/29/16): Going streaking

Gerry Thomas/Getty Images

Gaudreau put together the finest stretch of his career, an eight-game point streak that saw him score three goals and 12 points. He put up three points against both Anaheim and Arizona to go along with five single-point games.

•​ Johnny Football (02/05/16): Manziel’s agent drops him

Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, announced, “It is with deep regret that, after several emotional and very personal discussions with his family, his doctors, and my client himself, I have made the decision to terminate my professional relationship with Johnny Manziel."

Burkhardt added that he “will remain a friend and Johnny supporter,” but “it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his hands.”

Johnny Hockey (03/02/16): Selected to participate in World Cup

The Big Short: Pint-sized Johnny Gaudreau delivers thrills

To no one's surprise, Gaudreau was one of the first 16 players named to the under-23 Team North America squad for the new-look World Cup of Hockey tournament to be held in September. Though the 22-year-old would have been a lock for Team USA if he'd been age-eligible, he was thrilled to be invited to skate with the young stars. “It will be a good experience to be on this team and play with younger guys and learn and meet new guys around the league that are also in your position.”

•​ Johnny Hockey (03/09/16): 10-second record book rewrite

Gaudreau beat Nashville's Carter Hutton twice in a span of 10 seconds—four ticks off Lanny McDonald's franchise record for the fastest two goals by one player—and topped a pair of personal bests in the process. His first tally was his 25th of the season, topping his 24-goal rookie total. The second gave him his 64th point, another career high.

Johnny Football (03/11/16): Browns release Manziel

The Browns officially released Manziel just two days into the new league year. He was placed on waivers, allowing any team to pick up the remainder of the four-year $8.2 million contract with Cleveland he signed in 2014. Manziel finished his time with the Browns with 147 passes for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 games, eight of which were starts. Ten days later, the news broke that Manziel had hired agent Drew Rosenhaus to help revive his sunken career. 

• Johnny Hockey (4/9/16): Gaudreau hits career highs

The Flames' season comes to an end with a 2-1 win in Minnesota. Though they failed to make the playoffs, Gaudreau managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, finishing with career bests of 30 goals and 78 points, both tops on the team, which he also led with 48 assists while pacing the league with 56 points scored on home ice. Gaudreau tells the Calgary Herald that he has plenty of work to do to improve his play on the other side of the puck. "The defensive zone is so important in this game now and even though I pride myself on being an offensive guy, I definitely need to be better defensively," he says. "I need to be a lot better on the road."

Said teammate Mikael Backlund, “He’s done a lot for us already. He does everything for us. And he’s still young, so now he’s two years into the league, maybe he can get that veteran feeling and take more leadership on. He’ll be the first guy to break a wall or something if we lose. He’s very competitive, and that’s what we need. And if he can take another step leadership-wise now that he’s older, guys will look up to him. They already do.​"

Johnny Football (4/19/16): New agent drops Manziel

After giving Manziel five days to seek treatment for drug abuse and personal problems, agent ​Drew Rosenhaus officially terminates their working agreement. Manziel releases a statement that he hopes to resolve his personal issues and focus on returning to play in the NFL next season. News emerges that Nike has also terminated its endorsement contract with the troubled quarterback, who had been dropped by his marketing firm in January.

• Johnny Football (4/26/16): Manziel indicted

A grand jury in Dallas County, Texas brings a misdemeanor assault charge against Manziel for allegedly attacking his girlfriend during a night out in January. The woman claimed that he had grabbed her hair and hit her, causing her to lose the ability to hear in one of her ears. Manziel, who denies the allegation, faces a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail if convicted.

Johnny Hockey (5/6/16): Gaudreau reaches out to victims

As a raging wildfire consumes Fort McMurray, Alberta, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing 80,000 people to flee the city, Gaudreau's thoughts are with those who will be affected by the blaze for weeks. 

The young NHL star also visits the Calgary Fire Department to help boost morale during a training session.

• Johnny Hockey (6/2/16): A special gift

After losing her home in the Fort McMurray wildfire, Sabrina Watson wants to console her son Liam on his ninth birthday, so she contacts the Flames to ask if Gaudreau, Liam's favorite player, will be appearing at any local autograph sessions. Gaudreau responds by sending Liam an autographed puck, a hat, a Gaudreau t-shirt and hockey card, and something even more special:

Johnny Football (6/4/16): Manziel sued

News reports say a lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles alleging that Manziel used the fake name Travis to rent a house in Southern California in which nearly $30,000 in damage resulted during a raucous, drug fueled three-day party in early April. Seeking more than $100,000 from the troubled star, the suit claims police had to be summoned to the premises.

• Johnny Hockey (6/27/16): Qualifying offer

Not the least bit interested in seeing their budding star hit the market as a restricted free agent, the Flames extend a qualifying contract offer to Gaudreau, who is expected to eventually receive a long term deal in the neighborhood of $7 million per season.

Johnny Football (6/27/16): Manziel's lawyer bails out

After inadvertently sending a text to the Associated Press expressing doubts about the troubled young star's ability to stay off illicit substances—and revealing that Manziel had spent more than $1,000 on drug paraphernalia after his car was wrecked in a June 20 hit-and-run crash—attorney Bob Hinton withdraws from representing Manziel in his assault case.

• Johnny Football (6/29/16): Greetings for dad

Holed up with a group of people, some of whom are strangers, in a mansion in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as reports of drug use emerge, Manziel insists to TMZ that he's going sober on July 1 as the first step towards an NFL comeback. He also posts an Instagram mocking his father, who had told ESPN, “He’s a druggie. It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie. I don’t know what to say other than my son is a druggie and he needs help. I hate to say it, but I hope he goes to jail. I mean, that would be the best place for him.”


@flashgordonxii I won't take this thing off for a week. You my brother FOR LIFE. JUST WAIT ON THIS COMEBACK!!!! #CaboWabo #JoshAintHere #hiDad #HappyBdayDaveEvans @akarambo_

A photo posted by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

The next day, the NFL announces that, due to a failed drug test, Manziel has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season...assuming he's actually signed by a team and makes the roster.

• Johnny Hockey (7/17/16): Accompanied by teammate Sean Monahan, Gaudreau works with kids at former Flames coach Bob Hartley's hockey camp in York, PA.

Johnny Football (7/18/16): Wearing a new hairdo that sets the internet abuzz, Manziel insists on Instagram that he's going to get his act together at last and return to the NFL. "It can't end like won't," he writes. The previous week, he'd sent a statement to the Washington Post“I’m actually doing well. I have good friends around me supporting what I do and I try to support them in what they want to do. I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, but for now just mostly being healthy. I’ve got a killer gym in my house and I can spend time working out. I’m interested in doing a lot of different things in my life — including football — but, right now, I’m just exploring options and waiting to see what the future holds.”

Manziel also responds to an @TexAgs video post on Twitter that showed him making a 49-yard TD gallop against Texas-El Paso in 2013. The caption laments that Manziel once made such things "look so easy." His tweet: "I love A&M with all my heart. I'm truly sorry. I'll do whatever I can to make it right."

A day later, TMZ reported that Manziel had been involved in a fistfight before his friend's wedding in Hawaii ...

Manziel text by Jeremy Woo, Andy Wittry and John Rolfe; Gaudreau text by Allan Muir and John Rolfe

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