fall in 2014 NFL draft only adds to his legend
There had been criticism of Clowney work ethic last season and questions about whether the Texans would hold or trade the No. 1 slot. But Johnny Manziel, the frat boy college football star whose dating resume includes a Maxim model and an underwear model, who has pending trademark nike duffel bag requests for two of his nicknames, and who is mentioned in a Drake song, could use some humility in his life.
And he got that in spades on Thursday night.
Not only is Manziel going to a city that LeBron left, where disappointment is destiny, and where first round quarterbacks (Tim Couch and Brady Quinn) are hatched with the overall patience of baby chicks in a furnace. But instead of going to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 4 pick as many expected he slipped all the way down to 22nd.
This was The Decision, in reverse.
For once, Cleveland got to be the one calling the shots. And a star like Manziel got to live a bit like one of us, sweating in real time with a camera focused on his face.
It was the show within the show at the draft. And it made for interesting, if not uncomfortable television. Manziel was a pro through it all. He sat straight faced and sipped from nike presto mens a cup of water that someone Photoshopped to look like beer as pick after pick walked by his table in the green room and then onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York to receive their new jersey and shake hands with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Manziel got passed over by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected quarterback Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick. He was passed over by the Browns twice, who traded picks with Buffalo and then chose cornerback Justin Gilbert eight overall, before trading up to 22nd. Even Jerry Jones Jerry Jones! said no to a kid who played at Texas A and whose marketing team could barely fit inside Dallas AT Stadium.
Maybe this is the pratfall of the hype machine; another example of building a person up only to tear him down and laugh in the revelry.
If so, it didn really dampen Manziel spirits. When Cleveland finally picked the Texas A quarterback with the 22nd pick, Manziel walked to the stage with Drake rapping his name and flashed his yet to be trademarked money sign by rubbing his index and middle fingers against his thumb. Manziel already has an exclusive memorabilia deal with Panini America, a multi year contract with Nike that includes the creation of a clothing line as well as applications filed to protect nine different trademarks.
His fall at the draft does not change anything. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in 2012, throwing for 7,820 yards and ran for another 2,169 yards during an illustrious college career. And he is just as dynamic off the field, with a group of celebrity friends that includes everyone from LeBron James to the cast of Duck Dynasty. Now, he will use that larger than life personality to try and put Cleveland back on the map. But, as his draft position suggests, he will have to work for it.
Can the 5 foot 11 Manziel, who might have fallen because of his size, beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting job next season? Can he turn around a team that has missed the playoffs for the past 11 years? Can Johnny Football, who Browns fans were calling Super Bowl on Thursday, be the answer?
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