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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Thompson: The trouble with Johnny

By Edward Aschoff

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is a lot of things.

He's a Heisman Trophy winner. He's a record-setter. A trendsetter. A freak athlete. An attention-grabber. And a certified celebrity.

But what he isn't is shy. His attraction to the limelight has brought Texas A&M plenty of new onlookers and attention, but it's also brought those inside the program some headaches with all of the off-field drama that has followed Johnny Football.

True, he's a 20-year-old like thousands and thousands of other 20-year-olds. But unlike all those other 20-year-olds, he has the fame that B-list celebrities dream of. And because of that, Manziel brings unwanted attention with every word he speaks, every club he enters, every tweet he sends and every alarm he misses.

ESPN's Wright Thompson had a chance to spend some time with Johnny Football to find out what it's like to walk a day in Manziel's shoes:
FOUR DAYS AFTER the tweet, Johnny Manziel did what many boys do when they're in trouble. He went home. The farm roads and state highways between College Station and Tyler blurred under the wheels of his black Mercedes-Benz, the one he wanted so badly that his dad finally bought it for him. Paul Manziel didn't want his son to do something stupid to get it for himself. A jagged line marked the back left quarter panel; even before Johnny tweeted that he wanted to leave College Station, someone had keyed his car. When Johnny arrived at his grandmother's house in Tyler on this Wednesday, Paul leaned over and silently ran his finger along the length of the cut, seeing what someone had done. He felt helpless. Building tension from the past week, and from the seven months of scrutiny that preceded it, had left his son on edge and exhausted. Maybe here, outside the siege walls of College Station, Johnny could exhale. He needed space to retake the control he'd lost over both himself and his new persona. Johnny Football is a growling grown-ass beast of a human. Johnathan Manziel is a boy trying to become a man.

To read more of Wright's piece, click here