No other rookie quarterback has received as much attention on Twitter or elsewhere in the media as Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel; because of the notoriety he has recently garnered for being a hard-partier, the young signal-caller will need to focus more on his passing game and less on drinking games as 2014 OTAs wrap up.
Johnny Football’s most recent run-in with the limelight showed him living it up at a pool party in Austin, which was courtesy of footage from the world’s best source of quality journalism, TMZ. He was later caught in a photo drinking from what appears to be a bottle of champagne while lying on an inflatable swan:
While it’s certainly not a crime for a 21-year-old to have a good time, Manziel’s main priority should be staying out of the spotlight and working on beating out Brian Hoyer for the starting spot on the roster as the team heads into training camp.
According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, Hoyer has thus far secured his place as the starting quarterback in the eyes of head coach Mike Pettine at the end of OTAs, but Manziel will still have a chance to compete as the Browns head into training camp in July.
Per Jones, Coach Pettine explained the situation, saying, "The issue for us as a staff will be finding the right time to name a starter. If you wait too late, then no one is ready for the opener. If you do it too soon, was it a true competition?"
Manziel’s struggles were well-documented earlier in the month, after he threw three interceptions during team practice, according to Bryan Rose of Sports Illustrated.
Though some might see this as Manziel’s football efforts suffering because of his off-the-field antics, Rose brings up a good point when mentioning that most publications don’t report on other backup quarterbacks underperforming during offseason practice.
"Nobody is likely to hear if backup quarterbacks elsewhere in the NFL such as Brandon Weeden or Christian Ponder struggle during their organized team activities, the moment Manziel does it becomes noteworthy," writes Rose.
Both Pettine and retired quarterback Joe Namath have spoken up in defense of Manziel’s extracurricular activities and see no harm in it as long as no laws are broken, via the Washington Post's Marissa Payne:
There is no doubt that Johnny Football performed exceedingly well in college. However, he is still an unproven entity in the NFL, and his main focus should be football and staying out of situations where he could get himself into trouble.
Per Payne, who cites ESPN.com's Pat McManamom and NFL.com's Dan Hanzus, Pettine and Namath both feel that there’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but as we've seen in the past, celebrities almost always seem to find trouble when alcohol is involved and everyone at the party has a camera phone.
Manziel should take a cue from Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and focus on his career and staying off of TMZ’s Twitter feed, before his luck runs out.