By Brent Guffy
Johnny Manziel is the most scrutinized player in the NFL and he hasn’t made it to training camp. Unfortunately the things that are being critiqued aren’t his work ethic or style of play, its his off the field antics that have triggered a national uproar among football traditionalists, who believe the game should be played a certain way and an athlete should conduct himself a certain way on and off the field.
It seems as though every weekend Johnny has a new photo of him partying, whether it be with Hip Hop superstar Drake, Pop Star Justin Bieber, or boxing champion Floyd Mayweather. I don’t believe Johnny needs to stop these antics completely, but stay away from social media, which, in this day and age is extremely hard to do.
As we saw last season, when Johnny Football played his final season with the Texas A&M Aggies, he still partied a substantial amount in the off season, but put on a great show in the regular season. I think the Browns need not concern with how Johnny lives his life, but rather how he performs on the football field.
There are two totally different ends of the football spectrum when it comes to quarterbacks entering the NFL, there is the Tim Tebow end and the Johnny Manziel end. As we saw with Tebow, he made his off the field antics known; those antics included having a strong Christian faith, going on mission trips and putting in the time and the effort in the off season.
Some may not agree with him putting his religion in the limelight, but him being an all-around good guy made him a megastar, despite his lackluster playing and elongated throwing motion. But when given the chance to play in Denver that one fateful season he showed how he could will his team to victory in spite of flaws.
Manziel on the other hand comes in to the league with a full-fledged media circus and everybody is waiting, whether it be at a bar or a club to get a picture of Johnny inebriated and subsequently posting those pictures to Twitter, Instagram, or any social media platform and the news media runs with it and questions whether he’ll able to help the Browns in the coming season.
Johnny has the speed and arm to prove that he belongs in the NFL and since a pint sized quarterback in Russell Wilson just helped Seattle to their first Super Bowl, everybody is looking to catch lightening in a bottle again with a quarterback of smaller stature, such as Manziel
Johnny is 21 years of age as well, and maybe I sympathize with him because I am the same age, but let him go out and have some fun. Since he left the Aggies to go to the NFL he hasn’t had legal trouble like some of his other Browns running mates, such as Josh Gordon who has a yearlong suspension pending and was just arrested for a DWI. The way I see it is, Johnny is capitalizing on an opportunity.
He is living his dream on an NFL roster, and as it is for most of us 20 something people, he is all work on the weekdays and party on the weekends. It’s not like he is throwing away his season by going on during the training camp or the regular season and causing all this commotion.
I believe we are looking way too far into his life by assuming he has a drinking problem when he goes out and enjoys himself on the weekends and who would know him better than his former teammate and go to wide receiver Mike Evans, who was drafted 7th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Evans has been quoted as saying that Johnny “will be ready by training camp.” I wholeheartedly believe that.
Browns Management has also come out and said they aren’t a fan of Johnny’s off the field antics thus far, but what did they expect, the second coming of Tim Tebow? Johnny Manziel is something the city of Cleveland desperately needs.
A flashy quarterback who will make the plays necessary to win, and a not so quiet, in your face, on and off field kind of player. He isn’t going to hide who he really is, which it seems that the Browns were really hoping he would do. They need that kind of guy to light a spark for the city of Cleveland, a Joe Namath-esque player in the way he is about promotion and winning football games and I believe they got what they asked for when they took Manziel with the 22nd overall pick.