Johnny Manziel Recalls Contemplating Suicide After Being Cut From Cleveland Browns (Exclusive)

'Untold: Johnny Football' drops Tuesday on Netflix.

Johnny Manziel is opening up like never before. Speaking to ET's Kevin Frazier ahead of the highly-anticipated Untold: Johnny Football documentary dropping Tuesday on Netflix, the 30-year-old former baller recalls how he reached the darkest point of his life when he contemplated suicide.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner said it was "tough" going through the darkest period in his life, which came after he was released from the Cleveland Browns in March 2016. After he was cut, Manziel reflected on his career and wondered how he allowed himself to squander a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"What do you do when you feel like you've wasted talent?" Manziel asked rhetorically. "What do you do when you feel like you've wasted opportunity? What do you do when you feel like you put yourself in a position where there's no way to crawl back? [When] there's no way to climb back and everything looks bleak."

The 22nd overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, Manziel was tapped to bail a Cleveland franchise that for far too long had seemingly grown comfortable in the cellar of the AFC North. While he showed flashes every now and then, Manziel never lived up to the hype he created as a Texas A&M standout. His career quickly fizzled, throwing for as many touchdowns (seven) as he did interceptions and completing only 57 percent of his passes for a paltry 1,675 yards. After he was released from the Browns, Manziel had several stints in the Canadian Football League (CFL) but it was clear to everyone that his professional football career was all but over.

It's been reported that in the documentary Manziel reveals he went on a "$5 million bender" before attempting to end his life. He says in the doc that he purchased a gun to carry out the attempt, but when he pulled the trigger, the gun malfunctioned. Manziel tells ET that not living up to such high expectations took a toll on him, but he ultimately found a new perspective.

"Everything you read about yourself or everything that you see or your normal everyday interactions for the most part are 'Hey, man, you f**ked this up. Hey man, you messed this up,'" he said. "So I think it just took me a long time to be able to get over that and realize that there's so much more to life than just picking up a leather ball and going out and throwing it on a Sunday."

As for why he chose to tell his story now, Manziel says enough time has passed for him to reflect on what could have been.

"I've watched some of the Untolds in the past and I was really intrigued by a lot of them," he said. "And last year, it was the 10-year anniversary from my Heisman, Hall of Fame induction at Texas A&M. I've been doing a lot of reflecting over the years and when Untold came to me, I was very, very interested."  

Manziel, who had a high-profile marriage with Selling Sunset's Bre Tiesi before their divorce became official in 2021, says he has a lot of remorse over how he conducted himself in the early part of his career.

"I definitely have a lot of remorse. I wish I would have been better at a younger point in my life," says Manziel, who also was drafted in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres. "I wish I would have been able to figure this out at an earlier point, you know? I have a lot of people that I look back that were in my life that helped me to get to this point. I don't take that lightly."

As for his famous moniker -- "Johnny Football" -- Manziel says being simply Johnny suits him just fine.

"I'm still Johnny. There's not a lot of football left in my life anymore other than watching from the couch on a Saturday or Sunday," he says. "'Johnny Football' will probably live forever. I'll have people that will come up to me and call me Johnny Football once a week, at least. But for the time being it's just Johnny. And we're moving forward with life and trying to put a bow on that path."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

Untold: Johnny Football drops Tuesday on Netflix.