Johnny Manziel: Judge His Lifestyle When It Affects His Football

By Ty Duffy

Johnny Manziel has had an eventful few days. He was too hungover for Manning camp duty, earning the ire of some NFL media (Peter King is already bringing up Ryan Leaf). He also reached a plea agreement for his summer of 2012 bar incident. The timing, just before SEC media days, could not have been worse.

Manziel’s active social life may be noteworthy and, perhaps, worrisome, even for a 20-year-old. But it is worth remembering none of this has affected him playing football, at all.

How did Manziel handle his novel celebrity in the Cotton Bowl? 516 total yards, four total touchdowns and a 41-13 dismantling of Oklahoma. Spring game stats are pretty much worthless. Still, Manziel completed 24/30 for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Not terrible.

Manziel is healthy. He’s eligible. He’s shown nothing to suggest he’ll be any less transcendent of a college football player. Criticize him for abdicating responsibility, when he has demonstrably done that.

Even moving to the next level, the NFL is not the clergy. Teams question character. They evaluate based on ability and performance. This is a league where Michael VIck and Ben Roethlisberger are valued members of the community. Manziel is not within sight of them on the malfeasance totem pole. Character will be talked about. Height and arm strength will be the overriding concerns.

Irritating Archie is not a good look. But, as with everything Manziel, it hasn’t been worth the scorn heaped on him. He partied too hard at an inopportune moment. That happens to human beings. It happens to those paid to write about them. Aspirin. Gatorade. Apology. Move on.

Johnny Manziel was neither anointed nor charged with a solemn duty. He won a football award. His responsibility is to play quarterback. Kill him when he underperforms against something weightier than your sanctimonious expectations.

[Photo via USA Today Sports]