Summer of Johnny II: Hall of Famers Not Fans of Johnny Football
He can't hear you.
Johnny Manziel's last two summers, the one we are in now and his post-Heisman summer of 2013, have not been drastically different in terms of extracurricular activity.
Lots of travel, lots of booze, lots of really good-looking women and plenty of Instagram moments, some fairly innocuous and some mildly controversial.
But there are major differences in how Manziel's off-the-field agenda is being examined now that he is pulling an NFL paycheck.
When he was at A&M in 2013 and winding up in pictures of a sea of bikini-clad coeds, Manziel generally ran unchecked. Aside from people who secretly wished his lifestyle was their lifestyle and some talking-head curmudgeons like Mark May, it was generally viewed as "Johnny Football being Johnny Football."
Surely, nobody at A&M (coaches, alums, teammates) was going to say anything, lest they piss off the golden goose.
Now, in 2014, the worm has turned.
Playing with grown men and against grown men, in a league that was built by grown men, Manziel's act isn't nearly as "lovable," and with little margin for error on a team that has started a couple dozen quarterbacks since 1999, there have to be teammates quietly concerned that their futures are directly attached to Manziel.
For now, Browns teammates have only talked about the hullabaloo surrounding Manziel observationally, and (seemingly) not out of jealousy or envy, like running back Ben Tate, who said the following shortly after Manziel was drafted:
"It's just as a player I know that I would get tired if people were constantly monitoring if I picked my nose, if I spit to the left or right," Tate said. "I mean, it's annoying. He's a human being. He's a great football player so I understand why he gets some of the constant media attention. At the same time I just figure at this stage he's tired of it and he wants to come in here and do his job and try to win the starting quarterback position."
Undeniably, Manziel's "Johnny Football" persona is back in full force, and it's now being besieged on a heretofore unforeseen front -- Hall of Fame caliber former players who played long enough to have seen this movie before, the movie about the rookie teammate who runs too hot out of the gates and flames out spectacularly.
First, it was former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith on 105.3 in Dallas:
"That lifestyle is going to be a short lifestyle -- a short career lifestyle -- if he continues that. As we used to say, you can't keep burning the candle at both ends of the stick. The candle gets small fairly quick. Johnny is going to have to figure it out."
"Hopefully he's not doing anything to hurt himself outside of drinking -- which is going to harm his body and harm his performance anyway. At the end of the day, he's going to have to learn to manage those things."
"Johnny is young. I was young and dumb myself at one point in time. But maturity itself, and maturing as a professional athlete, is something that is required of every pro football player. I think right now Johnny Manziel is going to get a glimpse of what negative press can do for you. A lot of people think negative press is good press -- or any press is good press. It's not."
Next, it was multiple Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana via ESPNCleveland.com:
"I think the biggest thing is, 'Hey you've made it to where you want to be. Everybody wants to have fun up there. But unfortunately, you're in a fish bowl even more so than he was in college.' I always go back to an old saying Bill Walsh told me after we won our first Super Bowl. I was going everywhere, trying to do everything. He called me in and said, 'I just want to tell you one thing. I understand what you're doing. We may never get back to another Super Bowl. But just remember this, the less people see you, the more they want to see you.' So basically he was saying it's okay to do some things, but try to cut it back, but don't forget about football because that got you where you are and that's what's going to keep you there. You got to make sure you spend the time on football as much as getting out and about."
Then, finally, it was former Houston Oiler Warren Moon on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
"My biggest problem with him and it's something he has to get used to and temper down a little bit, all guys are gonna go out and have a good time. Quarterbacks, all different positions. But you don't want to make it as public. You want to keep it more of a low profile when you are out having a good time. He tends to make it more of a high profile thing when he's out, so that just opens up all this speculation and criticism by everybody out here. . . . It gives everybody a chance to have an opinion upon him. And a lot of that he brings upon himself by exposing everything that he does."
"So he needs to be more low key about the things he does, and as long as he's putting in the work off the field and on the field to become the best quarterback he can be, I have no problem with what he's doing, except for the fact that he needs to keep more of a low profile."
I don't know if Manziel has a direct response to all of this, but if he does, my guess is that it goes something like this....
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.