If the NFL doesn't work out for Johnny Manziel, the Cleveland Browns quarterback apparently has a fallback plan with the San Diego Padres.
San Diego drafted the former Texas A&M quarterback in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB draft and even assigned him a new nickname, per the Padres' official Twitter account:
Manziel provided his thoughts after the surprising pick:
MLB also notes the former Aggie has donned a Padres jersey in the past and yet another epithet:
Johnny Padre. pic.twitter.com/vA4oVKFXzG— MLB (@MLB) June 7, 2014
Ironically enough, the former Texas A&M player went around the same time as a future Aggie baseball player. One pick before Manziel, the Milwaukee Brewers drafted right-handed pitcher Turner Larkins, from Arlington, Texas, who has committed to Texas A&M:
Got drafted right before @JManziel2— Turner Larkins (@TurnerLarkins) June 7, 2014
The Padres' selection came on Day 3 of the draft, one year after Manziel threw out the opening pitch in Petco Park. While several first pitches have been memorable—most recently 50 Cent's attempt—Manziel's was somewhat of a throwback to his football days against Alabama.
Though it might come as a surprise to most fans that the Padres selected Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has spoken candidly in the past about wanting to return to baseball.
Manziel spoke about his love of the sport last April, per The Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated).
"I do miss (baseball)," Manziel said. "I would love to play. But I chose a different path. Football became center stage in my life when I always thought I would play baseball."
If this story sounds strikingly similar, it's because it is.
Just months ago, during the Rule 5 draft, the Texas Rangers selected Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The 2014 Super Bowl winner isn't playing with the Rangers this season but did participate in camp with the team.
JJ Cooper of Baseball America brought up that exact point following the selection:
Padres just took Johnny Manziel, listed as SS, from Texas A&M. Guess they hope to bring him into camp for a day a la Russell Wilson?— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 7, 2014
ESPN Stats & Info also provides a little context on how rare it would be for Manziel to play in the majors:
Johnny Manziel drafted in 28th round by Padres (837th overall). No 837th pick in the June draft has ever played an MLB game— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 7, 2014
Unlike Jameis Winston, who wants to play two sports professionally, it doesn't appear Manziel has quite the same goals. Though players like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were able to make the switch between teams, don't expect the same from Manziel.
While he likely won't be joining the Padres, the potential for him to live out his baseball dreams might just take place during the offseason. As for right now, Manziel will likely remain focused on simply winning the starting job in Cleveland.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.