Joe Flacco a fan of Johnny Manziel

Updated: September 2, 2013, 12:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Johnny Manziel continues to collect critics, but don't count Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco among them.

Flacco... I feel like now everyone hates him. He's quickly becoming my favorite player in college football.

-- Joe Flacco on Johnny Manziel

Flacco, who has described himself as boring, says he's become a fan of the always interesting Texas A&M Aggies quarterback -- if for no other reason than the fact that many seem to dislike the man nicknamed "Johnny Football."

"I don't know if I'll be too popular for this," Flacco said, according to the Carroll County Times in Maryland. "But I don't know how I really felt about Johnny Manziel, but I feel like now everyone hates him. He's quickly becoming my favorite player in college football."

Manziel, who became the first freshman to win the Heisman, has made headlines all offseason and eroded some of the goodwill his exciting brand of football earned him in his first season at College Station.

He appeared courtside at sporting events, left the Manning passing camp early and eventually found himself embroiled in an NCAA investigation over possible paid autograph signings. The punishment from the investigation cost him the first half of Texas A&M's season-opening win against Rice on Saturday, a game that saw Manziel take a 15-yard penalty for taunting before being benched by his coach.

Flacco, who played for FCS member Delaware, may not have had anywhere near the same scrutiny as Manziel in college, but he can certainly relate to what it's like being critiqued. Flacco entered last season being mocked for saying he considered himself the NFL's best quarterback. Even after Flacco was named MVP of the Super Bowl, the Ravens were questioned for signing him to a contract worth more than $120 million.

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