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Johnny Manziel said he was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has made his mental health a priority as he continues to work toward a return to football.
In an interview with ABC News that aired Monday morning, the former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner said he was previously “self-medicating with alcohol” to escape a lingering depression. He said he has since stopped drinking and is taking medication for bipolar disorder.
“I’m working to try and make sure that I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” Manziel told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
“At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental makeup of the way that I was created.”
Manziel said he has been selfish and entitled in recent years, after he became the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the NFL draft. He told ABC that his mother confronted him in tears one day, telling him that people would approach her and ask, “what the hell is your son doing?”
“I saw the trickle-down effects of what I was doing in my life that were meaningless and pointless and selfish,” Manziel said.
Manziel, who has not appeared in an NFL game since 2015, said he has spent the past two seasons “watching other guys that are doing what I want to be doing, when I’m sitting on a couch being a loser.” He has had contract negotiations with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, though the two sides did not reach an agreement by Manziel’s self-imposed deadline of Jan. 31.