Mike Evans, like many who watched Netflix’s “Untold: Johnny Football,” did not previously know the extent of Johnny Manziel’s mental health struggles.
The Buccaneers wide receiver and former Texas A&M teammate of Manziel said it “takes heart” and was “noble” of the 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to open up about his challenged past in the documentary.
“I thought it was very noble of him to do what he did, ’cause it takes heart to, like, admit a lot of that stuff,” Evans said Wednesday, according to ESPN.
“I knew he was in a very dark place; I didn’t know about that…I care about him, but, you know, I didn’t know about his suicide attempt. That was news.”
In “Untold: Johnny Football,” which was released this week, Manziel talked about attempting to take his own life after falling from college football fame.
Manziel, 30, a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft, was poised to lead the team as the top signal-caller but was ultimately released in March 2016 after partying scandals and a 2015 stint in rehab.
In the Netflix documentary, Manziel said he damaged relationships with family, friends, coaches and teammates after refusing help for his substance abuse issues.
“I think I was just running from problems,” Manziel said. “Direct self-sabotage, trying to burn this thing down. I had planned to do everything that I wanted to do at that point in my life. Spend as much money as I possibly could, and then my plan was to take my life.
“Months prior, went and bought a gun that I knew I was gonna use. I wanted it to get as bad as humanly possible to where it made sense, and it made it seem like an excuse and an out for me.”
Nevertheless, Manziel said, the gun “just clicked on me.”
With the documentary, Manziel is ready to leave the “Johnny Football” era of his life behind and start new.
“People know — I mean, he’s a super-talented guy,” Evans said. “I mean, obviously his time, it came and gone — gone real fast — and that’s hard for people to deal with.
“Especially, he’s like the first of his kind — a rock star [college] quarterback who’s hanging with all celebrities. Like, that’s like the first of his kind, so he was in a tough spot early on.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling.
If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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