HOT BLAST: The tortured path of Johnny Football
Aug 01, 2013 | 2097 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2) reaches the end zone for a touchdown as Oklahoma's Frank Shannon (20) and others give chase in the first half of the 2013 Cotton Bowl. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2) reaches the end zone for a touchdown as Oklahoma's Frank Shannon (20) and others give chase in the first half of the 2013 Cotton Bowl. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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The start of college football season is right around the corner. Preseason practice is about to start. The fruits of recruiting by Alabama and Auburn are reporting to campus. The coaches preseason poll has Alabama No 1. (yawn) 

And then there's the soap opera playing out at Texas A&M, which is preparing for its second season in the SEC. As The Star's Marq Burnett pointed out, ESPN the Magazine has an eye-popping profile of A&M's quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in its latest issue.

The article by ESPN's Wright Thompson has generated plenty of buzz as it reveals the stresses and strains that are pushing and pulling Manziel into bad directions.

In one section, Thompson writes

The Manziels don't understand why the school lets the NCAA probe their lives, starting with the assumption that they are cheating, as if an endless back and forth about a rich family spending money really addresses the most dangerous consequences of Johnny's fame. Paul Manziel thinks the school compliance department actually works for the NCAA, and in a meta way, he's right. If A&M doesn't fully cooperate with questions about, say, courtside tickets and fancy vacations, it leaves itself open to sanctions. The Manziels understand the risks and the stakes. Johnny is in the wilderness of his own bad decisions right now. From the Manziels' perspective, everyone, from Sumlin to the school to the NCAA, seems to care deeply, even profoundly, about helping him through, just a little bit less than they care about helping themselves.

"It's starting to get under our skin," Paul says. "They're so selfish."

The Manziels are tired of a coach getting a million dollars and their son getting an appointment with a therapist. They're tired, and they're scared, because they've seen the pressure build and build, and they don't know what might happen next. Or, more accurately, they know exactly what happens next, if Johnny doesn't grow up.

It's a fascinating read. However, we're struck that the article most reads like fodder for when ESPN does one of its riches-to-rags 30 for 30 documentaries.
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