Johnny Manziel is holding out hope for a return to football in 2016, his attorney said, but one source close to the quarterback said he recognizes that window might be closing, making a possible 2017 comeback attempt more feasible.
"His immediate plans are to start getting ready for football," attorney Jim Darnell said Wednesday. "We're working on it."
Since being released by the Cleveland Browns in March, Manziel has been charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly rupturing the eardrum of ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley during a January dispute, sued over a trashed rental home and dropped by two agents, Erik Burkhardt and Drew Rosenhaus.
An NFL team giving Manziel a chance in a 2016 training camp appears slim, and Manziel would be subject to the league's personal conduct policy upon return. The league is investigating the assault charge.
One family friend said Manziel's parents are "just sick" over their son's struggles. "This is a crisis," the friend said. "I hope someone kicks the s--- out of the kid and forces him to get right."
The man who drafted Manziel, former Browns general manager Ray Farmer, said the quarterback's immediate future is "tenuous."
"I'm concerned for the person more than I am the player," Farmer said. "I do hope Johnny finds the help he needs to put himself back together."
Manziel, 23, has a June 24 status hearing for the assault charge. His attorney said Manziel, who doesn't have to attend the hearing, will plead not guilty.
Manziel, who spent 10 weeks at Caron Treatment Center in Pennsylvania in early 2015, has started eight games since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2014. The former Heisman Trophy winner has thrown seven career touchdown passes and seven interceptions.