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Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel says
he’s making a football comeback.

Manziel announced Wednesday that he’ll participate in the developmental
Spring League in Austin Jim Otto
, Texas, which will play from March 28 to April 15. The
league is designed for players hoping to impress NFL scouts. The league
confirmed Manziel will participate.

Manziel won the Heisman as a freshman with Texas A&M in 2012 and left
school after his sophomore season for the NFL. He was drafted in the first round
by the Cleveland Browns, but was cut in 2016 and hasn’t played since.

In a recent interview with ”Good Morning America”, Manziel said he’s been
diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking alcohol. In 2016, a
domestic assault charge against Manziel in Dallas was dismissed after Manziel
took an anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance-abuse
program. He was also suspended four games for a substance-abuse violation even
though he wasn’t under contract.

”Can’t wait to get back on the field and show NFL scouts what I can do!”
Manziel tweeted Wednesday.

Manziel played nine games with the Browns in two seasons, passing for 1,675
yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

”Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My
goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege,”
Manziel said in a statement provided by the Spring League.

This version has been updated to correct that Manziel was cut by the Browns
in 2016.

Clay Matthews is learning new playbook terminology this spring under
a new defensive coordinator Marshawn
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, though his overall goals haven't changed.

It's more important than ever for the Green Bay Packers' long-haired
linebacker to get to the quarterback.

The Packers didn't add a potential game-changing edge rusher in free agency
or via the draft. They focused on another defensive priority and replenished the
cornerback position with veteran Tramon Williams and draft picks Jaire Alexander
and Josh Jackson.

That leaves Matthews and Nick Perry as leaders of a pass rush that had
trouble getting consistent pressure last year.

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks. ... But obviously, you
look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great,"
Matthews said. "That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick and myself,
but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass

The Packers had veteran Julius Peppers in the mix on the edge a couple
seasons ago, but he returned to Carolina in 2017. Second-year player Kyler
Fackrell and veteran Ahmad Brooks A.J. Klein
, who combined for 4 陆 sacks, were the primary backups

Matthews and Perry each missed time last season with injuries. With a lack of
production from the bench, getting fresh blood seemed to make sense.

Matthews said he understands that signings don't always go as planned for the
front office. There are only so many draft picks to make. The salary cap limits

"I'm happy with the picks they made, and at the same time it does show ...
their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have," Matthews
said. "At some time I'm sure it will be addressed, but for the time being the
guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the

It would help if Fackrell and second-year player Vince Biegel became more
productive. Biegel missed the first seven games last season because of a foot

"The biggest gains we've always made have been from our returning players,
particularly the second Tyreek Hill
, third year players," coach Mike McCarthy said after the
draft about outside linebacker depth.

The pass rush could get more productive if other areas of the defense also

Tighter pass coverage could give edge rushers more time to get to the
quarterback. Green Bay also hopes to get more push up front from free agent
signee Muhammad Wilkerson, who has 44 1/2 career sacks.

He joins Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry on the line, which should
be the strength of new coordinator Mike Pettine's defense. Pettine was the New
York Jets' defensive coordinator in Wilkerson's first two years in the league in

"Everybody's learning, some of the wording is a little different from back
years ago when I was with Pettine," Wilkerson said. "We're all getting through

Matthews knows that Pettine wants to be aggressive, though there is plenty of
time to figure out exactly what role he'll play this fall. It's quite possible
that it doesn't change much after Matthews showed the flexibility to play both
outside and inside the last few years.

Pettine replaced Dom Capers Lance
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, who was fired after the 7-9 season. Capers had
been Matthews' only defensive coordinator since the linebacker entered the
league in 2009.

"Like I said, someone needed to fall on the knife. I think it's all done to
get better results, and that's exactly what we're here for," Matthews said. "In
the new defense we're getting ready to hit this season strong and, like I said,
hold up our end of the bargain."

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