The Cleveland Browns organization has gone public with a reasonable story: Johnny Manziel, in an uncharacteristic encounter with maturity, raised his hand and volunteered to enter rehab. The truth might be a little different. A team source tells Bud Fox News that Manziel was duped into going:
We tricked him, flat out. He’s so pickled in alcohol right now, we could have told him that we traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs and he would have believed it. He had a hamstring injury at the end of the year, so we just told him that in the NFL, unlike college, you do off-season rehab for a hammie at an undisclosed live-in facility. Then we told him that while he was there, he’d be so loaded up with muscle relaxers that he wouldn’t be able to drink. He didn’t fight it that much, especially after we mentioned the painkillers. Of course, they’re gonna be placebos and we’ve got a hot physical therapist visiting him once a day to keep him fooled.
Bud Fox News‘ Silence Bellows has also tracked down a counselor who claims to work at the facility where Manziel is cooped up. She suggested that Johnny Football has been less than an ideal patient:
He’s going to figure out the whole charade sooner or later. He keeps saying that the muscle relaxers aren’t strong enough, and he seems to know more about them than a pharmacology professor. And he’s definitely not helpful in group therapy. These people are all white-knuckling it trying to stay off drugs or alcohol, and he’s telling them they’re all invited to the party he’s gonna throw when he gets out. The other patients are getting upset. We had to intercept a Buy-Rite delivery the other day. He’s got airplane-size booze bottles hidden all over the facility. It’s just a matter of time before he starts dialing up escorts.
According to the team source, the rehab facility’s secret location not only allows Manziel to avoid press scrutiny, it also sets up a potential means for redemption for Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon, a Manziel drinking buddy whom the NFL has suspended for at least a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Said the source:
Josh doesn’t much follow the news, so we guessed right that he hadn’t heard about Johnny yet. We told Josh that Manziel is at a wild, week-long party at an undisclosed location, kind of a final secret blast before he gets serious about life and football. We told Josh that if he can find Johnny before the week runs out, then he gets a free month there himself and maybe early reinstatement.
Football Betting Center has Manziel at 5 /1 odds to be the Browns starter next year (Brian Hoyer is at 1/3).