Johnny Manziel explains how his infamous Vegas trip paved 'self-sabotage road'

Remember the time when Johnny Manziel, supposedly in concussion protocol, was spotted wearing a disguise and partying in Las Vegas on the eve of the Cleveland Browns’ final game of the 2015 season?

Well, Johnny Football, fresh off of revealing his bipolar diagnosis and announcing an NFL comeback attempt, finally explained why he set his career on fire for a few hours of fun in Sin City. Sort of.

In a podcast conversation with former Browns teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins, transcribed by For The Win, Manziel said the trip to Vegas was an attempt to “fix my home life.”

“It was what was going on at home that was causing me so many problems, and one of those problems led me to Vegas,” he said. “I felt like I couldn’t solidify or fix my home life without going out there. So I had this reckless, reckless plan. On a Saturday after the walkthrough, I’m going to catch a 12 o’clock [flight]. So I fly out there, I get there at 2 or 3 or whatever time it is and I’m going to stay there for three hours and I’m going to catch the 10:30 flight back so I can make my mandatory treatment session the next day.”

Upon arriving, he checked into Planet Hollywood, “[talked] out my family business, like whatever,” and figured, “You know what, that craps table is calling my name, that blackjack table’s calling my name.”

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SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns looks on prior to the star of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 4, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20, 2015: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns laughs while stretching prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans on September 20, 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 28-14. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns listens to Joe Haden #23 on the sideline during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 4, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20, 2015: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns runs out of the tackle of safety Coty Sensabaugh #24 of the Tennessee Titans during a game on September 20, 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 28-14. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the field during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 30-9. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns leaves the field after the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns warms up before the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 07: Former Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel at Kyle Field on November 7, 2015 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13, 2015: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns awaits the snap during a game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 13, 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 24-10. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - DECEMBER 11, 2015: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns walks onto the field during a practice on December 11, 2015 at the Cleveland Browns traininst facility in Berea, Ohio. Cleveland will host the San Francisco 49ers on December 13 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 30-9. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns rushes against defensive end Cassius Marsh #91 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Browns 30-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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After a blackjack dealer and a USA Today reporter recognized him, Manziel added a few foolproof steps to his plan, buying a blond wig and shades, telling everyone his name was “Billy” and posting an old photo to Instagram, with the hashtag #SaturdayNights and the location set to Avon, Ohio:

#SaturdayNights

A post shared by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

From there, Manziel went out to dinner, then to a club and, “We stay out all night.” He didn’t get back to his hotel room until roughly “7 a.m. East Coast time. We play at 11. This stuff is already starting to come out, I have to be there at 8, which is in an hour. I’m like, ‘I’m definitely not going to make that.'”

Instead, he turned off his phone until mid-afternoon the next day, when his inbox was filled with an “absolute cluster [expletive] of messages.” For the uninitiated, Manziel hasn’t played in the NFL since.

Manziel said he explained his reasons for going to Vegas to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and then-general manager Sashi Brown, and he believes they were prepared to stick with him. That is, until, as his agent told him, Hue Jackson was hired as coach on the condition that the Browns sack Manziel.

That’s when he says he went “into self-sabotage road from there.” If not on an earlier flight to Vegas.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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