As controversial as his offseason was, once the college football season kicks off, Johnny Manziel promises to be just
And those on the 40 Acres should learn to appreciate him for the incredibly talented and wondrously entertaining player he is.
We heard Manziel, 20, reference his age repeatedly while addressing questions about his recent exploits. But that’s no excuse for oversleeping and failing to fulfill his duties at the Manning Camp last month, even if he was “dehydrated.” It’s no excuse for getting into a fight that almost derailed his career, even if he was sticking up for a friend. It’s no excuse for tweeting about how much you can’t wait to leave College Station, even if you were provoked.
And it’s certainly no excuse to be treated the way he was when Manziel paid a visit to Austin recently.
Manziel was kicked out of a frat party one night, ridiculed and had beer thrown his direction on his way out. He was spotted at a party the following morning in a Tim Tebow jersey, throwing the Internet into a collective tailspin.
When you see Johnny Football eluding defenders in seemingly impossible ways and hitting receivers in stride downfield, don’t shake your head. Those at the frat party who gave Manziel the boot offer a poor example of how to approach such moments.
Instead, remember that Manziel cheered the Longhorns on as a child. He would’ve played in the Longhorns’ secondary rather than be a quarterback at Texas A&M — if given the choice. Texas never offered.
Ironically, Longhorns’ defensive backs coach Duane Akina was reportedly the only one on the coaching staff who thought they should give him a shot at quarterback.
And this is the hospitality he’s shown?
He wasn’t here to party so much as he was here to see his friends on the Texas football team, Miles Onyegbule, Malcolm Brown, Tyrone Swoopes and M.J. McFarland, among them.
“Good seein y’all fellas this weekend, best of luck,” Manziel tweeted last weekend.“#NoLoveLost.”
He’s not the cookie-cutter, Boy-Scout-guy under center most enjoy, and expect, from college football’s elite. He’s not A.J. McCarron or Teddy Bridgewater or David Ash, who claims to never curse. He’s Johnny Football.
Unfortunately, Texas won’t play a scheduled game against Texas A&M any time soon. The Longhorns’ and Aggies’ battles are limited to the recruiting trail. Unless they meet in a bowl game, Manziel won’t play a down against the team he grew up cheering for.
Manziel is far from perfect. But resisting the urge to toss a beer at him, or not having the urge in the first place, doesn’t mean condoning any of his misdeeds. It shows class.
Like time, winning heals all wounds. It is the great elixir. And, until Manziel gets the chance to do it again, the unwanted attention won’t go away.
Like many of us, Manziel grew up a Texas fan. And, like many of us, Longhorns and Aggies alike, he just needs the football season to start.