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Friday, November 28, 2014
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Gazzolo Column: Time for Johnny Football to clean his act up

Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:46 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Johnny Manziel’s summer of fun tour reached Louisiana over the weekend, and to no surprise the Heisman Trophy winner made big news.

He was either thrown out of the Manning passing camp or left because he was ill.

The official word was Manziel was “dehydrated.”

There are several ways to get “dehydrated” — and the word fits both sides of this story.

Some reports say Archie Manning sent Manziel home because he was hung over from a night out on the town and missed a camp meeting.

Manziel, who was a camp counselor this year, was reported to be out both Thursday and Friday nights.

Official word from the Manning camp is this was not the case and that this is not a big deal.

Camp spokesman Greg Blackwell said officials agreed “that it was in everyone’s best interest” that the Texas A&M sophomore leave town before the camp ended.

Peyton Manning went so far as to say that Manziel would be welcome back next year.

This is not the first Manziel has been caught up in such a thing since he won the Heisman last December. He seems to like the spotlight and the spotlight really loves him.

Monday Manziel pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor stemming from a 2012 bar fight near campus, closing a case that had dogged him all offseason.

Manziel admitted he failed to identify himself to police following the altercation. As part of a plea deal, other charges against the 20-year-old, including disorderly conduct, were dismissed.

For the most part this seems to be harmless fun by a college student. He is not alone in staying out too long or getting into a little trouble here and there.

In the SEC, let anyone who has not sinned cast the first stone.

When it comes to college football, few rocks ever leave anybody’s hand.

But one thing is a bit troubling — you would think Manziel would have learned by now. Or maybe that somebody he respected, a teammate, his father, a coach, would have taken him aside and told him to grow up.

They could have shaken sense into him just by saying one time is funny, twice is cute but three, four or five times is becoming a problem.

Not only is the college football world watching but so are NFL scouts.

In a world where image is everything, Manziel seems happy to play the role of party animal, the Bluto Blutarsky of the SEC.

Or maybe he just wants to go down as the anti-Tim Tebow.

If either is the case, then it is working perfectly but at a cost.

He is starting to embarrass not only himself but also A&M, the SEC and his family. He is also falling in the ranks of college quarterbacks.

When last season ended Manziel was considered the front runner for the this year’s Heisman as well. Now, he is dropping faster than Matt Barkley did a year ago.

As for his Aggies, there is now a wait-and-see attitude about them as well.

All of this can blow over quickly with another big win over Alabama by Manziel and his mates, but if the QB starts to struggle you have to wonder how far he does fall before hitting bottom.

For this, Manziel has no one to blame but himself. He created this mess and only he can clean it up.

He knows all eyes will be on him.

Americans love drama and comeback stories.

We also stop to watch train wrecks as well.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

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