Johnny Manziel enjoyed an annus mirabilis in 2012, leading his Texas A&M Aggies to an 11-2 record and becoming the first ever freshman to win the Heisman trophy. That's the story we do know. But behind the scenes, before the season even began, Manziel actually considered transferring schools after getting suspended for his arrest in a bar fight.
Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News broke the story (h/t College Football Talk), citing a source close to the situation who told her:
A&M initially suspended Manziel for the 2012 season following his arrest in College Station’s Northgate bar district last summer.
Manziel, entering his freshman season after sitting out the 2011 season as a redshirt, would have felt it was necessary to transfer if the suspension wasn’t overturned on appeal.
The appeal, of course, did prove a success, and the rest is now part of college football lore. But the story serves as yet another reminder that Johnny Manziel, though seemingly infallible between the sidelines, still has a lot of growing up to do.
It's easy to see why he would be bitter at the threat of suspension. Before last season, he appeared to be the only one who knew how good he was at football; he couldn't understand why (a) Jameill Showers was favored to win the starting job over him, and (b) Kevin Sumlin would levy such a harsh punishment his way. For a kid with Manziel's competitive zest, the whole situation must have been infuriating.
But threatening to transfer—and genuinely considering it—is an impetuous reaction, exactly the kind of myopia that derails potentially fruitful careers. Had he pouted, kicked the dirt and left College Station, the legend of Johnny Football would probably never exist.
This report comes at a scandalous time for Manziel, too, right on the heels of his cryptic tweets about wanting to leave Texas A&M. As its own entity, that was probably a non-story. But now that we know he's thought about transferring in the past, it takes on a whole new connotation. Now it's a repeat offense. Now we have to seriously question his dedication to the school.
The future still holds bright things for Johnny Manziel. He's back for another season and this time it's not just the Heisman, but the BCS National Championship he's chasing. With a second impressive year, he'll have another important decision to make this offseason, as the NFL will surely come knocking at his door.
When it does, there's a good chance he's matured enough as a player to make the leap. But as a man off the field, if this report be any indication, he could use another year of growing up at school.