By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
The Morning Kickoff …
Joe Cool on Johnny Football: The only thing more plentiful than Johnny Manziel sightings on the Internet and TMZ is reaction to Manziel sightings.
The latest comes from Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, the only three-time Super Bowl MVP.
Appearing on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access,” Montana offered the following advice to Manziel:
“I think the biggest thing is, ‘Hey you’ve made it to where you want to be. Everybody wants to have fun up there. But unfortunately, you’re in a fish bowl even more so than he was in college.’
“I always go back to an old saying Bill Walsh told me after we won our first Super Bowl. I was going everywhere, trying to do everything. He called me in and said, ‘I just want to tell you one thing. I understand what you’re doing. We may never get back to another Super Bowl. But just remember this, the less people see you, the more they want to see you.’
“So basically he was saying it’s okay to do some things, but try to cut it back, but don’t forget about football because that’s got where you to where you are and that’s what’s going to keep you there. You got to make sure you spend the time on football as much as getting out and about.”
Manziel has not taken a snap in his NFL career and already he is the most scrutinized, most talked-about, and most Instagram-ed player in the league. That may be good for his “brand” – a word Manziel has used more than once since he was drafted 22nd overall in the first round by the Browns on May 8.
But repeated images of Manziel sipping, chugging, spraying magnums of champagne, or flaunting wads of cash to his ear like a cell phone, or dropping f-bombs in Internet videos, are not good looks for Manziel or the Browns.
The scorecard: In the last week alone, here are what notables have said about Manziel:
* Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas: "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."
* Former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn on Sirius XM NFL radio: "I just don't think it's right. I don't think it's respectful to the other veteran players, too, right now that are probably taking care of their bodies, trying to prepare to go into a winning season right now instead of doing things like that off the field.
“The thing I'm most worried about is what you're kind of seeing off the field.
"Some people say you can work hard and play hard, but I think my biggest issue is when you're drafted in the first round, you're the face of the franchise. And when you've got a video that comes out like that, I understand he's trying to have a good time and live his life off the field, but there's a little kid watching that, and now he's looking up to him as a role model and for me personally, I have a little bit of an issue with it. I don't think that's the way you want to conduct yourself.
"If you were asking (Browns owner) Jimmy Haslam 'Is that really what you want the face of your franchise doing, and having out there?’”
* Former Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans at the NFL Rookie Symposium Play 60 youth football clinic: "In training camp, I don't think he'll go out at all. He'll be committed and devoted and fighting for a starting job.
“In college when he was (partying), I didn't care as long as he was coming to play ball. He's committed to the team. He's a competitor, and he wants to win. What he does off the field is none of my business.
"Being a Heisman Trophy winner and coming out of college, he's just under a bigger microscope. Everybody does it. When he gets on the field, all of that will go to rest."
* Former Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews at the Rookie Symposium: “He came in and worked every day and I know he's going to do that here. He did a lot of good things at A&M and I've got no complaints. He's going to be fine. There's been media stuff like this for a while and he's always come in and gotten the job done, so I'm not worried about it.”
* Browns cornerback Joe Haden on “The Really Big Show” on 850 WKNR:"I just really think Johnny needs to maybe check his friends a little bit. Everybody's going to go out, everybody's going to have a good time. But you've got to make sure when you're with your people it just doesn't get out.
"You need to have a phone valet. Tell your friends 'put your phones away.' We're going to go out and have a good time and just don't record what you're doing.’
"Everybody has fun, trust me. Everybody does. But everybody's not Johnny Football. So I think you're kind of like 'C'mon Johnny, you represent. You're going to have a good time for sure, nobody has a problem with it. But just try to have fun without the whole world knowing.'”
Summer recess: Manziel checked into the NFL Rookie Symposium headquarters at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora on Wednesday.
Like other Browns and NFL rookies, he will listen to two days of lectures on personal wellness, money management, locker room culture and NFL history. The over-riding theme is, “Make good choices as you walk down this path of fame and fortune.”
Manziel, who was shielded from media at coach Mike Pettine’s final minicamp two weeks ago, is expected to have one last media availability at the AFC Play 60 youth football clinic at Browns headquarters on Friday. Then he departs for five weeks of vacation before training camp.
It would be nice to hear Manziel express some remorse about his weekend party binges and reassure everyone – fans, teammates, the Browns – that he is smart enough to tone it down as he enters the next phase of his professional career.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtag #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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