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Johnny Manziel Likely To Target 2017 Return To NFL Following 4-Game Suspension

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that former Browns QB Johnny Manziel has indicated to people privately that he felt his best chance of returning to the NFL could be to wait until the 2017 season.

However, with the news that he’s been suspended four games for violation the substance abuse policy, Fowler writes that it’s “all but certain” he won’t play in 2016.

By waiting until next year, Manziel wouldn’t have to serve the four-game ban.

An NFL personnel executive tells Fowler that NFL teams are no longer looking at Manziel “through a prism.”

“It’s about getting his life on track,” the executive told Fowler. “That’s it.

Mike Garafolo mentioned earlier in the day that Manziel is considered “radioactive” to NFL teams right now.

Manziel said recently that he plans to get sober in the coming weeks and focus on football again, and a source told Fowler that he believes former Manziel is, in fact, serious about getting sober and focusing on playing in the NFL again.

“I do believe he’s serious,” the source told Fowler. “He’s talked for a while about knuckling down, getting ready and working out. It’s more about health and having options and feeling good. If that works out for this season, great. But if not, that’s OK too.”

Fowler’s source wasn’t sure if Manziel would need to go to rehab.

Last week, Manziel’s father, Paul, called him a “druggie” and even said it could be in his best interest to end up in jail.

“It’s not a secret that he’s a druggie,” Paul Manziel said of his son. “I don’t know what to say, other than my son is a druggie and he needs help. He just hasn’t [sought] it yet. Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses. That’s about all you can say. I don’t know what else to say.”

Of course, Manziel has issues beyond just getting sober and a looming suspension in the NFL, as he’s current in the midst of a domestic violence case.

Manziel, 23, is a former first-round pick of the Browns back in 2014. He was in the second year of his four-year, $8,247,250 rookie contract when the Browns cut him loose at the start of the 2016 league year.

Manziel wound up clearing waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent.

In 2015, Manziel appeared in nine games and thrown for 1,500 yards while completing 57.8 percent of his passes to go along with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Manziel has also ran for 230 yards. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 31 quarterback out of 36 qualifying players.

We’ll have more regarding Manziel as the news is available.