Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine has his priorities straight when it comes to quarterback Johnny Manziel. He recently told ESPN that Manziel’s career should take a back seat to his health. “For his football life to get where it needs to be, he needs to get his personal life where it needs to be,” Pettine said recently at an NFL owners meeting. “This takes precedence, so however much time he needs, the football will be there when he gets out.” This month, Manziel checked out of the rehab facility he entered in January, and he’s preparing to get back in the game.
Numerous studies connect stress with addiction, and work-related stress is often cited as a reason for relapse. With high-stakes salaries like those of professional sports figures, addiction is a likely obstacle to success – performance anxiety and ego mania are prevalent, and some try to manage the roller coaster of emotions with drugs and alcohol. An alcoholic in recovery needs time to learn new coping mechanisms and practice them. Identifying and managing addiction triggers takes practice, too. Cleaning up the wreckage of past alcoholic escapades with amends to those who were harmed is another priority in recovery; coming back to work with a clean slate can reduce stress. Manziel’s coach is right. Settling into recovery isn’t something Johnny Football should hurry through.
Johnny Manziel is a lucky guy to have the support of a coach like Pettine. But allowing the young player all the time he needs for recovery is not just good for Manziel, it’s a smart move for the team, too. Based on his past performance, the former Heisman Trophy winner has the potential for carrying the team to success. In fact, support for Manziel is abundant. His fans, his sponsor Nike, and his friends and family members have all expressed public support for his successful, long-term recovery.