For better or worse, Johnny Manziel and Manti Te’o will forever be intertwined in stiff-armed lore.
Thanks to an utterly brilliant first season as Texas A&M’s starting quarterback in the Aggies’ virgin trek through the SEC, Manziel became the only freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in the 78-year history of the award. Thanks to an outstanding senior season on the field and the emotional difficulties he triumphed over off of it, Te’o became just the second defense-only player ever to finish runner-up.
While Manziel has since dipped a toe or two into Internet infamy, Te’o — either unwittingly or willfully — cannonballed into the deep end of it of late.
You know the ever-evolving Te’o imbroglio and so does Manziel, who spent some time with the Notre Dame linebacker on the postseason awards circuit and formed a bond on some level with his fellow Heisman finalist. As events began to unfold in the wake of Deadspin‘s stunning revelation regarding a dead girlfriend that didn’t even exist, Manziel’s Twitter timeline Wednesday went from distrusting media observer to someone hoping it’s not true to #MindBlown.
A day later, consider Manziel’s mind still blown.
“It was a shock for the entire sports world,” the redshirt freshman told Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News. “And being a sports fan, I was just as shocked as everybody else. … Nobody could believe that.”
The morass Te’o currently finds himself enveloped in may or may not have begun with an online relationship that devolved into the mother of all hoaxes. Manziel’s supposed missteps can also be traced to the web thanks in large part to photos that went viral. In that vein, it appears Manziel’s been there, learned that.