Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Johnny on the Spot

Ask veteran Texas sportswriter Mike Shropshire to explain how Johnny Manziel plays football, and you will hear the words of someone who has witnessed a player from another dimension. “You really can’t see him go from here to there,” says the 72-year-old Shropshire. “It’s sort of supernatural.” Shropshire’s new book Johnny Football: Johnny Manziel’s Wild Ride from Obscurity to Legend at Texas A&M (MVP Books, $19.99) pulls back the curtain on the wizardry of the Cleveland Browns first-round pick. We talked with Shropshire about Manziel’s work ethic, his legend and his NFL prospects.

Q: Does Manziel have the discipline to adjust to professional football?
A: He has a reputation for controversy, whether he deserves it or not. Nobody forced Johnny to show up courtside at NBA games yukking it up with LeBron James and Drake. But nobody saw him sitting under a beach umbrella sipping margaritas during two-a-day practices at [Texas] A&M last summer.

Q: Manziel has become a modern media monster. How has this affected him?
A: The Manziel phenomenon is not going to go away anytime soon. After he won the Hesiman, was he really getting off on the spotlight? He went from being Johnny Football to college football’s answer to Lindsay Lohan. You can say a lot of things about Johnny but he’s no dummy – I’ll be very surprised if there are any off-the-field incidents during his pro career.

Q: Will Manziel’s college accomplishments translate to the NFL?

A: Sending him to Canton [and the Pro Football Hall of Fame] might be a little premature, but it doesn’t take Knute Rockne to figure out he’s a special player. He has an uncanny sense of anticipation, and that’s why he’s so remarkable. If the Browns can come up with a Robin to this Batman they’ve found, you’re going to see some serious excitement in Cleveland.

By Barry Goodrich

No comments: