In the formalization of a decision that has been roundly expected for weeks, quarterback Johnny Manziel has been released by the Cleveland Browns. If no NFL team claims him by 4 p.m. on Saturday, he will become a free agent.
After an exceptional record as an NCAA football player, Manziel rode a cloud of hype into the 2014 football draft, where he was snapped up by the Browns. But Manziel was widely regarded as a disappointment by analysts and fans; in addition to his so-so record on the field, his widely publicized penchant for partying and other off-the-field misbehavior caused routine PR crises for the team. Manziel spent 10 weeks in rehab following his first season, and is currently being investigated on a domestic violence charge.
"I'd like to thank the Browns for the opportunity they gave me — nearly two years ago, we all hoped that we were building what could be a championship team for Cleveland," said Manziel in a statement. "I will always remember the support I received from the organization, my teammates and especially the fans." But today, the support of those fans is questionable; according to ESPN, numerous Cleveland bars are celebrating his departure with "Say Bye to Johnny" parties.