Bigger picture eluding Johnny Manziel

July, 1, 2014
Jul 1
12:55
PM ET
Another day is sure to generate more questions about whether Johnny Manziel cherishes celebrity more than football.

And whether the Cleveland Browns quarterback gets it.

Manziel
Pictures surfaced Tuesday morning of Manizel posing for selfies at a party with boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and rock star/teen idol Justin Bieber. They are certain to go viral just days after ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen reported that Browns owner Jimmy Haslem had asked Manziel to be more cautious when it comes to social media.

Whether Manziel is simply enjoying the benefits of fame and youth or simply can’t stay out of his own way is debatable.

There is nothing troubling or offensive about the photos beyond Manziel posing in them with Bieber, a walking instruction guide for how not to handle fame. And the pictures were taken at a time when players are off until the start of start of training camp.

They actually offer a perfect snapshot of what Johnny Football said last week at an NFL Play 60 youth clinic at the Browns’ facility.

“I want to wake up with a week and not have my name going through something,” Manziel said. “And I’m working on getting better at that, but if I want to go back home and spend time with my friends or go out and enjoy my weekends, I absolutely have the right to do that.”

Manziel is absolutely correct on that point, but he also seems to be missing the bigger point every time he sends social media into a frenzy. He has yet to throw a pass in the NFL, yet his fame eclipses that of all the players in the Browns' locker room combined.

That was going to be the reality anyway when the Browns drafted the former Heisman Trophy winner in May. But the perception, fair or not, is that Manziel has done everything but try to lower his profile since joining the Browns.

That can’t play well with his new teammates, particularly the veterans whose trust Manziel must win by showing he is committed to football and acting like a rookie whenever possible. And it only sets up Manziel for a bigger fall if becomes the latest in a line of Cleveland quarterback who can’t cut it in the NFL.
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Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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