Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Love him or hate him, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is sure to draw a reaction.
After a whirlwind offseason that has taken the redshirt sophomore to New Orleans for the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, Cabo San Lucas, celebrity appearances throwing out first pitches at two Major League Baseball games and to quarterback coach George Whitfield, Jr. in San Diego, there could be one more stop on the "Johnny Football" World Tour.
SEC Media Days will take place at the Hyatt Regency/Wynfrey Hotel from July 16-18, and an appearance from Manziel would certainly add a little spice to the annual circus.
But will head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggie administration bring him?
You'd think that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and SEC offensive player of the year would be a shoo-in to make the trip.
That's not necessarily true.
Several big-name stars didn't attend the event last year, including Alabama quarterback and then-reigning BCS National Championship Game offensive MVP AJ McCarron, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Gamecock defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
While that reads like an All-Star team of SEC absentees, the biggest absence was from former LSU defensive back and Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu. A few weeks later, we figured out why Mathieu was absent, as he was dismissed from the Tigers in mid-August.
There is precedent for leaving superstars at home, but Texas A&M simply can't do that.
Manziel is on a completely different level of celebrity than any of those players. His absence would create much more of a story than anything he says in Hoover—as long as he doesn't announce that he's joining the Ed O'Bannon case against the NCAA or something extreme.
Should Texas A&M bring Johnny Manziel to SEC Media Days?
Is Manziel a headache?
Despite public sentiment swinging away from him, nothing he has done this offseason suggests that he's putting his image ahead of football. That image—which has been created and promoted through various mediums including Manziel's own social media accounts—will create a headache for the A&M media relations staff.
That doesn't matter though. He is the face of Texas A&M's program—a program that he has helped vault from afterthought to national power in one short season. With his success comes responsibility, and a run through the gauntlet at the Wynfrey is part of that responsibility.
Is that self-serving for those of us who will be there? Absolutely.
Manziel will get peppered with questions by all of us in Hoover, some of which are bound to be incredibly silly, like Clay Travis questioning former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's virginity in 2009. But in the limited time Manziel has been in the public spotlight, he seems to handle himself well in high-profile meetings with the media.
We will know soon.
The attendee list typically comes out two or three weeks before the event (it came out June 29 last year), which means it could be any day now.
If Texas A&M wants to avoid a media firestorm, it will coach Manziel up and bring him to Hoover.
Would it be a circus? Of course.
But after Tebow, Alabama head coach Nick Saban talking pimps and agents and the incomparable performances from former Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell and former Arkansas head coach John L. Smith, isn't it always?