INDIANAPOLIS–Johnny Manziel was true to his Johnny Football reputation.
“I play with a lot of heart. I play like I’m 10 feet tall,” Manziel said in the most attended and celebrated press conference through two days of the scouting combine. It was a press conference in which Manziel appeared to speak as two different people.
The real Manziel spoke of becoming a pocket passer. Manziel’s ulter ego, Johnny Football, was confrontational: “I’m looking forward to showing up all of the people saying I’m just an improvisor.”
Manziel is this draft’s most interesting personality and debated talent. Is he too big for his britches? Is he just a college quarterback with a lot of hype, or a talented passer capable of making the transition from college to the NFL?
“I take my job very seriously. I’m excited about my future,” he said. “Johnny Manziel is a guy from a small town. I’m just a small-town kid.”
It was almost as though he didn’t know where the real Johnny Football ended and the real Johnny Manziel began.
What if he’s the first quarterback drafted?
“It would be awesome,” he said. “I put in a lot of hard work. I’ve come here to sit down with these guys and let them get to know me.”
The Houston Texans own the draft’s first overall pick. What if they were to select Manziel No. 1 overall?
“It would be extremely cool. I’m a Texas guy,” he said.
What if he were selected by a cold-weather team, such as Cleveland?
“It’s a man’s game. It’s played in the snow, the rain. It’s played in tough conditions,” he said.
What about having to become a pocket passer, instead of the wild scrambler he was at Texas A&M?
“I want to be a guy that can drop back and go through my progressions,” he said.
At some point, we will come to know whether Manziel can play football without being Johnny Football.
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