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Manziel handles himself well at SEC Media Days

Johnny Manziel AP

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney got the largest crowd and provided some beefy material for reporters on Day 1 of SEC Media Days.

That was small-time compared to the Sharknado* of attention given to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Heisman Trophy winner has had an interesting offseason fueled largely by polarizing opinions over his visibility on social media and rumors about his behavior away from the field. Manziel’s perception took another hit when a report over the weekend said the quarterback was sent home from the Manning Passing Academy, where he was a student counselor, for allegedly being hungover.

(*We had to get that reference in there somewhere.)

Speaking on ESPN Wednesday morning during SEC Media Days, Manziel had a chance to tell his side of the story. As one would expect, Manziel denied being hungover. “Absolutely not,” Manziel said, adding that nothing about last Friday night contributed to him missing meetings the following morning; rather, Manziel explained that he overslept the next morning. Manziel described the decision to leave the Academy as “mutual” but “disappointing.”

Maybe it was bogus. Maybe it wasn’t.

Joe Tessitore conducted a good interview with tough questions, but Manziel, who has always been good in front of cameras, handled himself relatively well.

His responses were a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, Manziel was engaging and seemed genuine when talking about the whirlwind of the past year. Manziel recognizes the missteps he’s taken, but he doesn’t necessarily apologize for them. He certainly doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t. On the other, he gave some answers that sounded scripted (because they probably were) and skirted around other questions. For example, Manziel gave a “no comment” when asked if he was drinking at the Manning Academy.

That’s all to be expected. Manziel is in damage control mode now, even if the damage isn’t all that bad. This morning will be the first of many times the redshirt sophomore has to answer for something he did besides throwing a football. That’s the expectation that goes along with being the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and current face of the program, regardless of age.

Personally, it never felt like much of what Manziel did was all that bad (although if Manziel genuinely was hungover at the Manning Passing Academy, that’s a different story). As long as he’s a good teammate, respects his coaches, and prepares for each game the way he should, the other stuff will be quickly forgotten.

Will Manziel actually cut back or otherwise eliminate his visibility away from the field — the very thing that brings extra attention to him? Probably, at least for the immediate future. Fall camp provides some structure that helps with that.

But here’s hoping Manziel, a likable and interesting guy, doesn’t start putting up a wall when speaking to media. Even though he has every right to.

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14 Responses to “Manziel handles himself well at SEC Media Days”
  1. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 17, 2013 10:47 AM

    Wow, Ben, that was actually a really good take on Manziel. I pretty much agree 100%

  2. goodfieldnohit says: Jul 17, 2013 11:20 AM

    Finebaum is a hack and has no business being a shill for ESPN.

  3. bucrightoff says: Jul 17, 2013 12:03 PM

    Johnny (Walker) Football

  4. hoopsvader says: Jul 17, 2013 12:37 PM

    Why didn’t anyone bother to wake him up or was he so drunk that they couldn’t get him up and told him to leave later that day.

  5. mogogo1 says: Jul 17, 2013 12:44 PM

    “although if Manziel genuinely was hungover at the Manning Passing Academy, that’s a different story”
    ___________________

    Let’s get real…of course he was hungover. Nobody who just overslept because his phone died is going to leave the camp early. He’d have just continued on with the camp and maybe did a special appearance to make it up to the kids who didn’t see him that morning.

    And where’d he get dehydrated in his version of events? No mention of not feeling well, he supposedly just overslept, but something like 24 hours later his dad was saying he was resting and recovering from dehydration. His story is totally unbelievable.

  6. rabbi187 says: Jul 17, 2013 1:40 PM

    I just watched an interview and he said he was eager to share his side of the story but when asked if he was drinking he said no comment.

  7. elosopoderoso99 says: Jul 17, 2013 1:43 PM

    What I want to know is what Urban Meyer has to say about all this I mean can he account for where he was during the night of the alleged incident?

  8. guinsrule says: Jul 17, 2013 1:44 PM

    His best bud AJ McCarron was his room mate at the Manning Camp. Why didn’t AJ wake him up?

  9. goodfieldnohit says: Jul 17, 2013 3:38 PM

    Dude was tagging some skank at her crib. Wasn’t in the dorm room with AJ. Saw he was late, said to hell with hit, and beat it up one more time.

  10. thehawg says: Jul 17, 2013 4:41 PM

    Who picked out Johnny’s shirt & tie, that was a poor decision.

  11. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 17, 2013 5:29 PM

    guinsrule says: Jul 17, 2013 1:44 PM

    His best bud AJ McCarron was his room mate at the Manning Camp. Why didn’t AJ wake him up?
    _________________________

    McCarron is trying to win a Heisman this year…. bad press for Manziel is good press for him!!!

    Totally kidding by the way…. I seriously doubt McCarron is that underhanded.

  12. thegamecocker says: Jul 18, 2013 9:22 AM

    I wonder if the SEC Network will be on Sirius Radio?
    I hope so because I miss Paul Feinbaum! He’s the best! Jack from Princeton

  13. dkhhuey says: Jul 18, 2013 10:20 AM

    I must have missed all of the ‘outrage’ stories about how the coach is giving Johnny Walker Football special treatment!

  14. granadafan says: Jul 18, 2013 11:12 AM

    Manziel’s enabler dad needs to hire better publicists to teach himself and his son what to say in front of the media. No rational thinking person or non-Aggie believed the “Dehydration” story or his simply sleeping in late. You don’t get kicked out of camp for missing a meeting as a camp counseler.

    Anyone who believes either Manziel is a moron and highly gullible.

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