Johnny Manziel has been the biggest story in sports this summer, eclipsed only by alleged murderer Aaron Hernandez, formerly of the New England Patriots. We’ve probably written, on average, a post or two a week about the rising redshirt sophomore who won the Heisman last season. Reminder: Manziel is 20 years old. It’s hard to imagine anyone upstaging Nick Saban at SEC media days, but Manziel was by far the biggest deal in Birmingham.
Today, ESPN’s Wright Thompson dropped a lengthy, informative story on Johnny Manziel, furthering the discussion on one of the most fascinating athletes in college football over the last 25 years. How many Heisman trophy winners saw an alcohol counselor during the season, and then a therapist after it? Personal assistants, bodyguards … sports fans haven’t seen anything like this on the college level. And that’s without delving into the dicey topic of the school profiting handsomely off Manziel – valued at $37 million last season – and the star and his family being none-too-happy about what he’s getting in return.
As spellbinding as Manziel’s story is, one thing few people have mentioned is that he’s really the same mouthy rich kid he was in high school. In a podcast with Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle, Manziel’s high school past came up, and his partying was mentioned. The New York Times actually wrote about it last November, but everyone either forgot or missed the story during Thanksgiving week:
His father made him a deal: he would buy Manziel a new car if he stayed away from alcohol during his junior and senior years in high school. One summer night, Manziel went to Wal-Mart to buy a phone charger, the security guard smelled alcohol and the police were called.
Manziel denied he had been drinking but was taken to jail. The next day, his father picked him up, sold the car and replaced it with a busted pickup truck that would repeatedly break down on the way to school. He refused to pay the fine for his son, and when the judge sentenced Manziel to 10 hours of community service, John Paul said: Make it 20.
What’s the point of re-hashing this? Not to say Manziel is a boozehound (another discussion for another day), but rather to point something out – he’s been a party animal for years. And he’s always rebounded on the field to do incredible things that shock and awe. Manziel was responsible for 77 touchdowns (not a misprint) as a senior. Forty-five passing, 30 running, one receiving, and one on a kickoff return. A few months after his arrest in 2012, he stunned #1 Alabama on the road.
Man, I really hope Manziel beats the Tide again on September 14th.
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