Johnny Manziel can get away with his fun-filled off-season

Posted Monday, Jul. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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engel The following anecdote from the professional ranks can serve as a warning to the best thing that ever happened to Texas A&M since it allowed girls to enroll.

We know deep in our hearts that Tony Romo’s trip to Cabo had nothing to do with the Cowboys’ playoff loss in 2007 against the New York Giants.

We know deep in our hearts that Romo’s jaunt to Mexico with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson had zero to do with the team’s gagging away what was supposed to be an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl.

We knew it then, and we know it now.

That trip, however, still looks bad, and provides perfect dog-piling material for when things go south for Romo.

Maybe things won’t break bad this season for Aggies QB Johnny Manziel, but at this point he is really not helping himself in the Perception Department. All he is doing is providing dog-piling material if things don’t go quite as well in ’13 as they did in ’12.

Just remember, and know, that Johnny’s upcoming season, good or bad, is not going to be affected by what has been the greatest off-season by a college male in the history of fun.

He is playing on a good team with house money against a schedule that should make all of this off-season noise obsolete, or at least add some more to his Paul Bunyan-like legend.

Manziel’s latest crisis is to be “asked to leave” the 2013 Manning Passing Academy as a college counselor/coach over the weekend. Manziel was either missing or late for practice assignments. He said he was ill. So he went home a day early to nurse an illness that has the appearance of what the people in the medical community might term a “hangover.”

Turns out on the previous evening of this sudden illness, Johnny Good Times was out — in The Most Fun Off-Season Ever — partying it up with the ladies at a local establishment.

Now, he also was having fun with Eli and Peyton Manning at this bar in Louisiana. That should, and does, change things. If a pair of Super Bowl-winning QBs sign off on it, it’s cool.

On Monday, Manziel appeared in the Brazos County courthouse for a compliance hearing for his arrest one year ago on charges of fighting, failing to identify himself and possessing two false IDs.

Add this to an off-season that has featured a few regrettable Twitter messages about living in College Station, taking only online classes, hanging out with LeBron James and sporting the best seats in the house to a load of high-profile sporting events, it’s always something with Johnny Melodrama.

It is as Bill Parcells said of his father, who once told him, “It’s never your fault, but you’re always there.”

Is Johnny Football being asked to Johnny Leave a football camp a big deal? No. But it’s another headline in an off-season loaded with them, and a nuisance for a football coach, and an athletic director, that prefer quiet.

Oh, well. They’ll get over it when Kyle Field is jammed and the BCS bowl bonus checks clear.

As a college kid, Manziel would be foolish not to live it up and enjoy these times as much as possible. He may be itching to try the NFL, but at this age, he doesn’t know what anyone who has graduated from college regrets: We didn’t enjoy it enough.

To his credit, Manziel does appear to be enjoying college plenty. The only other college football personality who is enjoying fame any more than Manziel is Katherine Webb, who is the girlfriend of Alabama QB A.J. McCarron.

Manziel is the guy who is up until 5 a.m., doesn’t study and aces the calculus exam. We openly hate those people but secretly envy them.

What Manziel has to be careful about, and he could ask Romo this, is that it doesn’t take much for people to turn on you. Just an untimely loss or two. At A&M, at least this season, that’s not happening. In the pros? He’ll get killed.

Manziel could be “sick” for A&M’s first two games — vs. Rice and Sam Houston State — and the Aggies are going to win by a combined 100 points.

Sept. 14 is the date that matters. Alabama is coming. If he is good against the Tide and the Aggies lose, there will be no correlation drawn between his off-season and that game. If he is bad and they lose …

Manziel set the standards so absurdly high after his freshman season that to repeat is going to be nearly impossible. The safe play is to assume he can’t do it again because no one could.

Nothing, however, about Manziel screams “safe.” He has already done so much, and the Aggies look just that good, that he is going to be one of those people who can go party and the next day embarrass everybody on the field.

The Aggies won’t beat that de facto NFC Alabama team, but — much like Romo’s trip to Cabo — it won’t have anything to do with Mr. Manziel’s Wild Ride.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof

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