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Former NFL QB Johnny Manziel reveals bipolar disorder diagnosis, vows comeback

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Former Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel walks out for a portrait session inside Stadium Signatures in Katy, Texas. Eric Seals / USA TODAY Sports2 / 2

Johnny Manziel was selfish, entitled and dealing with bipolar disorder.

Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 and a rapid flameout in the NFL, said Monday in an exclusive interview with ABC that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago and since quit drinking.

"I'm working to try and make sure that I don't fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me," Manziel told ABC News' Good Morning America.

"At the end of the day, I can't help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours. I can't help my mental makeup of the way that I was created."

Manziel, 25, said he takes medication to treat his bipolar disorder.

Manziel has not played football since 2015 and was released in 2016 by the Browns, who drafted Manziel in the first round. Due to what former coach Mike Pettine described as a lack of discipline, including drinking and partying during the practice week and missing offseason workouts and meetings without explanation, Manziel was released. One such transgression included a raucous night out soon after being announced as the team's starter ahead of a "Monday Night Football" game at Baltimore.

"That's what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression," he continued. "When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid ... sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone."

During his NFL tenure he spent the majority of an offseason at in-patient rehab.

He said Monday his issue was "self medicating with alcohol."

Manziel said his mother approached him one day with tears rolling down her face to confront him about his behavior and let him know how it impacted those around him. Manziel recalled his mother saying people approached her to ask, "What the hell is your son doing?"

"I saw the trickle-down effects of what I was doing in my life that were meaningless and pointless and selfish," Manziel said.

Recently, Manziel and the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats engaged in contract negotiations. However, Manziel imposed a deadline of Jan. 31, and a deal wasn't completed during that window.

"The goal of the comeback," said Manziel, "is to get back to the NFL, ultimately."

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