Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is one of the few people to figuratively walk a mile in Jameis Winston‘s shoes.
Manziel took college football by storm in 2012 and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Winston repeated the feat a year later.
Both also became instant celebrities off the field, and neither handled it particularly well. Each experienced multiple negative incidents, which didn’t reflect well on themselves or the programs for which they played.
Manziel, though, kept his head down and stayed out of the spotlight in recent months after partying a little too much prior to the start of the NFL’s regular season. The same can’t be said for Winston.
The Florida State quarterback was suspended for the Clemson contest after shouting a vulgar comment in the school’s cafeteria. Winston doesn’t seem to understand the bubble he now lives in as a Heisman Trophy winner and one of the top talents in college football.
Manziel seems willing to reach out to Winston and help them through the process, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Mary Kay Cabot.
“I’ll reach out to him and say a little something to him. More than anything it’s the middle of the season now and I don’t think he wants anybody that’s not on his squad interfering. But Jameis is a guy that I’ve had a good relationship with and want to help in as many ways as I can, or if anything I can say or I’ve been through can help him than I would love to do that.
“But I think for him right now just try and let as much time pass by and let some of these things blow over and worry about the position they are in right now and being the best team in the country and worry about football and the ACC. And really I think everything else will be OK. He’s continuing to grow up. He’s a young guy, too, but I really I think he’ll figure it out as he continues to go on.”
The excuses for Winston are the same ones Manziel used when questioned about his off-field antics. Manziel regurgitated the fact he’s only 21 each time another issue arose. Instead of Winston using the same explanation, maybe Manziel can help him mature before the NFL comes calling.
It’s not like the Browns’ backup quarterback has anything better to do while Brian Hoyer continues to play well for Cleveland.
A smash-mouth defense, a physical, downhill running game and… professional quarterbacks who come through in the clutch? For one Sunday, that third point is a hallmark of Michigan State football as three former Spartans quarterbacked their professional clubs to victory.
Let’s start with the day’s most unlikely hero, Drew Stanton. Michigan State’s signal caller from 2003-06, Stanton hadn’t recorded a statistic since 2010 until earning a pinch-hit start for the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at the New York Giants. Shaking off the rust quickly and smoothly, Stanton’s first drive in a full World Cup cycle traveled 80 yards in seven plays and put his Cardinals up 7-0. After falling behind 14-10 through three quarters, engineered another lengthy march (13 plays, 74 yards) to pull Arizona to within 14-13. For the day, Stanton completed 14-of-29 passes for 167 yards in a 29-14 win.
Moving down the Eastern seaboard, 2009-11 Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins played a familiar role, filling in admirably for an injured Robert Griffin III. After RGIII went down with a dislocated ankle, and Cousins hit the ground running by hitting his first 11 passes. The third-year player completed 22-of-33 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which gave Washington a lead it would not relinquish. For the day, Cousins and company cruised to a 41-10 triumph over Jacksonville.
Finally, the afternoon concluded with a winning effort by the quarterback sandwiched between Stanton and Cousins on the Spartans’ timeline, Brian Hoyer. The quarterback who refuses to cede his job to Johnny Manziel completed 24-of-40 throws for 204 yards and a touchdown. Hoyer was great when he had to be, finding Miles Austin for a three-yard touchdown to give his Cleveland Browns a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and then closed the game by guiding the Browns from their own four yard-line to the visiting New Orleans Saints’ 14 in 3:31 (Hoyer hit 8-of-11 passes for 78 yards on the march), setting up a Billy Cundiff 29-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to give Cleveland a 26-24 win. It was Cleveland’s second win in a home-opener since the franchise’s 1999 rebirth.
When informed of his former pupils’ 3-0 afternoon, rumor has it Mark Dantonio allowed observers a faint glimpse of something resembling a human smile before returning to preparation for Saturday’s tilt with Eastern Michigan.