Because I simply could not resist:
So here's what we know. This summer Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has played in the Pebble Beach Pro Am, threw out the first pitch at a major league game, sat courtside for the NBA Finals, said a bunch of stupid stuff on Twitter, pled guilty to an Athens-style misdemeanor, and left the Manning Passing Camp early after missing some meetings and workouts.
That's a big couple of months. And I don't really begrudge him any of it. Heck, I admire anyone who causes Peyton Manning to throw a hissy fit any time, for any reason. And I try really hard to say at least one stupid thing on Twitter per day, as anyone who follows the Dawg Sports twitter account can attest. Actually paying to attend an NBA game is a little dicey, but hey, he's an adult, he can choose how he wishes to waste his entertainment dollar.
But what Johnny Manziel has to realize it that there are consequences to having your own personal summer. One of those consequences is that people doubt whether you're really focused on football. The line between success and failure in bigtime college football is very, very thin. Five or six days of missed workouts or film study would just about do it. Games are sometimes decided by the one tendency you noticed during mid-June film study. The little bit of extra stamina you gained running two more rounds of stadium steps. A couple of extra reps of pass skeleton to nail the timing on that pattern. I haven't been following the guy around, but I believe there's simply no way Johnny Manziel's been putting in the kind of effort some other guys have this offseason. He's lost three or four days just in airports traveling.
A lot of fans I think overestimate the focus of college football players. Don't get me wrong, compared to the average aimless college kid those guys are workaholics. But most find some time to go out have fun, punch a bouncer, etc. Kids need to blow off steam. Everyone knows this. As long as it's not illegal or totally irresponsible, who cares? What logical human being would deprive a college kid of the youthful experiences which they only get one shot at?
The thing is, NFL personnel guys are not logical people. They are the same chuckleheads who seriously wondered if Andy Dalton could succeed in the NFL despite having red hair. They compile dossiers on hundreds of college kids. And the dossier on Manziel is now going to say that he's a guy who might not show up to work and handle his business. It's hard to hand a multi-million dollar contract to a guy with that reputation. Manziel had better have one helluva season. Because if the Aggies drop a couple of games and he's less than sterling, many of the talking heads saying we need to lay off the kid for being a kid will change their tune. Because it's easy to blame the quarterback. Always has been, always will be.
It will also be interesting to see how Manziel's teammates react to all this. There are guys who've spent their summer in College Station sweating, bleeding, and vomiting their way toward a shot at an SEC and BCS title. Manziel doesn't owe me an explanation for his conduct. But if his activities this summer have detracted from his ability to lead those guys, some of whom have toiled in obscurity for a couple of more seasons than Manziel, who've never dated a model but have worked just as hard to be great, then it's a problem. He'll have to explain to his teammates whether the Summer of Johnny was worth it. Until later . . .