HOOVER, Ala. — Johnny Manziel said all the right things Wednesday. Now he just has to keep doing the right things in football stadiums and his highly celebrated off-the-field activities will fade into cyberspace.
Manziel admitted he’s made some mistakes, especially oversleeping at the Manning Passing Academy last weekend that resulted in him leaving a day early. He vowed to learn from that and other mistakes, but he still plans to live life to the fullest. And as proof, he attended Wednesday night’s ESPYs in Los Angeles, as well he should. He earned that trip as the Heisman Trophy winner, college football’s best player.
But he’s different than any Heisman Trophy winner before him because he’s the first freshman to win it and did it during a time when it’s easy to chronicle what he does off the field thanks to social media. And he’s affluent enough that he can do many neat things, including attending high-profile events that draw even more attention.
Through trial and error, he’s discovered he needs to be a better Heisman Trophy winner off the field, though he doesn’t believe what he does on the field should be penalized for a tasteless tweet or two, or a dead cellphone that didn’t allow him to fulfill his obligations as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy.
“You don’t get a Heisman by doing stuff off the field,” Manziel said. “You win the Heisman by your play on the field. At the end of the day it should be about football. If you are the best college football player in the country, I think you should get it.”
He was and he did. And if he’s the best player in the country this season, he should win it again. He’s done nothing away from the football field to cause anyone not to vote for him.
“I feel I haven’t done anything that catastrophic,” Manziel said.
Not yet, but for all those people last season who gladly jumped on Johnny Football’s bandwagon, he doesn’t need to keep giving them reasons to leave or others not to jump on.
Manziel’s poise was impressive Wednesday as he handled 1,200 media members just as easy as he handled defenses a year ago, but time will tell if he’s really changed.
It’s interesting that Manziel tweeted not long after leaving Media Days. He hadn’t tweeted since June 16 when he sounded like a ticked off, immature 20-year-old.
“Bulls--- like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station. … whenever it may be,” he tweeted in June, followed by “Don’t every forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes.”
Manziel deleted the early-morning tweets, but the damage was done.
Many thought A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin told him to cool it.
“He hasn’t been on there for the last month,” Sumlin said. “Obviously, there was something to that discussion.”
Manziel, though, had a somewhat different take.
“I guess I haven’t said anything lately because I really haven’t had anything interesting to say,” he said.
Manziel broke his twitter silence to say that he was at the ESPYs along with his sister, Sumlin and former A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope. It was a harmless tweet, but one that his 388,353 followers probably appreciated. It also had to pass anyone’s good-taste test.
If it’s an indication of future tweets, maybe Manziel has indeed learned his lesson.