Johnny Manziel Must Mature Quickly to Avoid Brief, Disappointing NFL Career

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJuly 5, 2014

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) passes during organized team activities at the NFL football team's facility in Berea, Ohio Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Mark Duncan/Associated Press

Let's not pull any punches here: Johnny Manziel is an immensely talented quarterback, but he's in desperate need of a maturity boost.

While at Texas A&M, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, but he was also involved in several incidents involving the law. As it turns out, his career with the Aggies may be a sign of things to come.

Although, that's not what it looked like just a few months ago.

Manziel appeared to have everyone fooled. He adapted the moniker of a matured and capable NFL-ready quarterback due to some impressive interviews.

Just take this excerpt from an article by Peter King of MMQB into consideration:

Then to GM David Caldwell, and then to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. All the same: handshake, look 'em in the eye, refer to them by name. [Manziel] knew them all. Now, he didn't know the scouts in the room, but he knew five men by sight that he'd never met. "That was impressive," Caldwell said. "He did a really nice job in there. He was prepared for the interview, very prepared."

Perhaps a little too prepared.

During this process, Manziel appeared to make believers of the Cleveland Browns. After all, this was the team that moved up to No. 22 overall to select the former Aggie in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

Unfortunately for the Browns, Manziel didn't take long to revert back to his old ways.

The quarterback was seen partying on an inflatable swan shortly after he was drafted. It's not easily forgettable:

Sure, this isn't any kind of an offense, but it really should lead to some concerns about his dedication going forward.

He's a rookie—a rookie quarterback to be more specific. If he is to obtain the respect of the veterans in Cleveland, and lead the team effectively, he should be immersed in a playbook—not a fountain.

Of course, this doesn't exactly bring positive press to the team. A quick tweet from Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle sums it up:

Again, it's not as if Manziel is breaking the law in any way, but this isn't exactly how you'd want your potential franchise quarterback to be spending his time off just before his rookie season, right?

So far, it appears Manziel has been given a free pass for his actions. During an interview with Lindsay H. Jones of USA Todayhead coach Mike Pettine appeared to be fine with his quarterback's actions:

I would become concerned if it was something criminal, or if it was something that affected his job. I think there are a lot of our guys if, when they leave here and they were followed around, you'd get some very similar pictures. I don't know about an inflatable swan, but I think you'd still get some pictures.

It's interesting that Pettine doesn't think Manziel's actions affect his job at all. After all, this is the same coach who told Jones that Brian Hoyer is winning the quarterback competition by a significant margin:

"Brian is securely ahead of him right now. But we will compete, and we'll decide. 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?"

Obviously, it's very early for Manziel to be making a push for a starting spot. However, a first-round quarterback lagging very far behind an untested veteran couldn't give the Browns' brass a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Well, one person certainly didn't get a good feeling from Manziel's actions. That would be one of the NFL's all-time greats, Emmitt Smith.

During an interview with 105.3 FM in Dallas, via, Smith gave his strong thoughts on the quarterback:

That lifestyle is going to be a short lifestyle—a short career lifestyle—if he continues that. As we used to say, you can't keep burning the candle at both ends of the stick. The candle gets small fairly quick. Johnny is going to have to figure it out.

Hopefully he's not doing anything to hurt himself outside of drinking, which is going to harm his body and harm his performance anyway. At the end of the day, he's going to have to learn to manage those things.

Apparently, Manziel didn't listen to the Hall of Famer's words.

The quarterback was recently partying with Floyd Mayweather and Justin Bieber, among others, which ended in an run-in with the police, according to Sports Illustrated:

Taking that into consideration, ask yourself one question: When's the last time Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees made such headlines?

If Manziel wants to be taken seriously as an NFL quarterback, acting in a mature manner—like a true franchise quarterback—must be his first order of business.

Continuing this trend could lead to a short, disappointing and potentially embarrassing NFL career for Manziel.

It's time to get some priorities in order.


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