I Have A Confession: I Don't Like Johnny Manziel

Jeremiah Short, Feature Writer

I have a confession: I don’t like Johnny Manziel. I’m not talking about Johnny Manziel the football player. I’m talking about Johnny Manziel the person.

Manziel talent is unquestioned. He beat Alabama. He led his team to an 11-2 record. And he’s the first player in history to win the Heisman as a freshman.

Why don’t I like Manziel? I don’t like him because he’s an entitled, self-absorbed, no accountability having prima donna.

I want to like him. I really do. He makes it really hard, though.

Manziel’s dismissal from the “Manning Passing Academy” only reinforced my dislike of him. He was invited to the camp as a mentor–a role model. He left as an example of what happens when a young athlete is given too much…too soon.

The Manziel Camp tried to spin the dismissal. Manziel’s father, Paul, came to his son’s defense claiming that he was “dehydrated.”

The Manziel apologist even cited Peyton Manning’s statement in support of him as proof that he did nothing wrong.

“I enjoyed meeting Johnny,” Manning told ESPN.com. “I can remember a 20-year-old Eli [Manning] missing a meeting [at camp] and catching some flak. We always have counselors who leave early. Johnny was great with the campers for the time he was here. He had to leave early. I wish him the best and I want him to come back as a counselor next year.”

What He Really Wanted To Say: You really think I’m going to tell you that Johnny was hungover and that’s why my father asked him to leave. I have too much class to bash the kid. I wish him the best in his future endeavors, but he’s never coming back to our camp.

Manziel continued digging a hole for himself at “SEC Media Days.” When asked by ESPN’s Joe Tessitore why he was dismissed from the camp, he responded: “[There are] a lot of rumors out there, a lot of talk. I missed a meeting, phone died, I overslept.”

“I was not asked to leave. It was a mutual decision.”

Who is this guy trying to fool? He would have been better off saying the dog ate his homework.

Give him a break. He’s just a kid. He’ll get it together eventually.

I guess he was just a kid when he got suspended for the entire 2012 season.

I guess he was just a kid when he took a picture with a friend who used a racial slur in the Twitter pic.

I guess he was just a kid when he pushed a graduate assistant during spring practice.

Let’s not forget about this gem: “Bullshit like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station … whenever it may be,” Manziel tweeted after receiving a parking ticket.

Manziel is a lot of things, but he’s not a kid. I’m not going to hold Manziel to the standard of a 30-year old. I was a 20-year old once and made my share of mistakes. I said and did things that I wish could be taken back. When I was his age, though, I wasn’t the face of college football.

Manziel is. There are responsibilities that come with that whether he likes it or not.

Manziel also owes Kevin Sumlin. If it wasn’t for Sumlin sending a letter vouching for him, No one would have known the name Johnny Manziel. No Heisman. No supermodel girlfriend. No free passes.

Johnny Football still got millions waiting for him in the pros. Stop trying to kill his vibe.

Yea, Manziel does have millions waiting for him, but he might lose a couple if he doesn’t get his act together.

He has the tools to succeed in the NFL: terrific scrambling ability, toughness, high football I.Q. and winner’s intangibles. With the spread-option becoming such a staple in the NFL, Manziel has the skill set to succeed at the next level.

While Manziel has the tools, character concerns could force teams to focus on his negatives: above average to good arm strength, small stature (6’1, 200 pounds) and questionable pocket presence. It’s enough to cause a drop from the first to the third round. NFL teams don’t want to invest in Ryan Leaf part II.

Will Manziel get his act together? I doubt it.

I’ve felt for a while that Johnny Football would be one of those “guys.” One of those guys who take over the sports world for a moment in time and then fade away. Marcus Dupree, Maurice Clarett and Mark Fidrych are names that come to mind.

You’ll be sitting back on your porch twenty years from now going: “Whatever happened to that Johnny Football guy. He was a beast.”

Your friend will respond: “Man, you know how that goes. The dude could ball, but he couldn’t handle the pressure and no one liked him.”

I admitted that I don’t like Manziel. Maybe you should admit you don’t like him, too.

 

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