Kerrville, TX, USA
Your heading, Did Manziel Fool the Browns, was quite the eye-catcher. Are you stating that the Brown’s recruiting team were so naive and stupid that a young man can hang a contract just by acting like Eddie Haskell. You certainly don’t give this group of Brown executives much room for “organized hypocrisy.” Do you think they disguised their motives and wielded their power behind a smoke screen of policies and procedures? And in the end, find Johnny is no different from he was at college! I didn’t see you writing any complimentary articles like this one when he was in college and a lot more famous as, “Johnny Football.”
After reading the following post, the thought came to mind – is this sportswriter a racist? Would you have written this same article if Manziel were a black man? Would you be writing the same diatribe? Also researching your writings in all of the comments that are posted on your, “Bleacher Report,” it seems your readers do not have confidence in your sports writing. I did not find one comment that did not question your integrity of reporting. One in particular struck me as describing what I felt after reading your latest diatribe – and it reads:
“You really are a sad case Mike. I’d have a hard time stating it any more clearly than those already here, but I find your simplistic, simple-minded, opinionated, drivel designed to simply play to the masses, those reactionary masses who don’t have time or capacity to actually think. You are the sports reporting equivalent of the National Inquirer and function like the common lynch mob. You would be ashamed if you knew any better–surely your editors know better and chose clicks over any other standard.”
Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Johnny Manziel Channels His Inner Eddie Haskell
1. Did Johnny Manziel fool the Browns?
I saw this point first made by Chris Mortensen of ESPN this week. He said, effectively, that teams like the Cleveland Browns were fooled by Johnny Manziel during the draft interview process. It was a really smart point and one that I ran by several NFL scouts. Those scouts agreed.
Go back in time, to the scouting process, specifically to teams interviewing Manziel. Reports out of the combine were that Manziel interviewed well with many teams during the formal interview process. Manziel didn’t interview with the Browns at the combine but did later and supposedly did well in all of his interviews.
This Manziel exchange, reported in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback after the combine, was typical of how Manziel handled himself, I’m told by scouts:
On Friday night at the combine, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a 15-minute session with Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback. Manziel hadn’t met anyone in the room. When he walked in, all the Jaguars coaches and officials stood.
Manziel went to owner Shahid Khan and shook his hand. ‘Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Khan. I’m Johnny Manziel.’
Then to his son Tony Khan, a team senior VP. ‘Hi Mr. Khan, Johnny Manziel.’
Then to coach Gus Bradley. ‘Hi Coach Bradley, pleasure to meet you. Johnny Manziel.’
Then to GM David Caldwell, and then to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. All the same: handshake, look ’em in the eye, refer to them by name. He knew them all. Now, he didn’t know the scouts in the room, but he knew five men by sight that he’d never met. ‘That was impressive,’ Caldwell said. ‘He did a really nice job in there. He was prepared for the interview, very prepared.’
Manziel came off as a total pro and genuine. He came off as polished without being rehearsed. I can tell you, after his interviews, some teams felt Manziel had turned over a new leaf. They felt convinced he was going to put his party-boy ways behind him and be a professional.
Here’s some of what Manziel told King he said to teams:
I’ve tried to be completely honest with the teams. I was in college. I did some college things with my friends. I had fun, and the thing that I told some team tonight is, my Mom always told me, ‘There’s a time and a place for everything.’ There were points throughout the last year maybe I was a little bit out of that saying. I did things too much and maybe overly aggressive. At the same time, things progressed fast for me. A lot of things were thrown on my plate and pushed into my life, and I really ran with those. To get back to that saying, there’s a time and a place for everything. There’s a time to have fun, there’s a time to work.
As rapidly as everything came along, having to learn from my mistakes, through all the trials and errors, learning from that, and at the same time, I had different obligations than really most anybody has had. I am the only person I know of that had a schedule directly tied with our director of football operations to do whatever it was the school was asking of me. And really I’m incredibly loyal to Texas A&M. It was the school that gave me an opportunity when not a lot of other places did. But I feel like with the media attention I had, the scrutiny, and everything that I went through last year, it directly prepares me for this.
See what Manziel did there? He invoked his mom, talked about learning. It was gorgeous PR.
Bob Leverone/Associated Press
This is nothing against King, to be clear, who is a great journo; this is about Manziel’s ability to be a chameleon, to say what he knows people want to hear.
This is the Eddie Haskell Phenomenon. EHP. You sure look lovely today, Mrs. Cleaver. Then, just after saying that, Haskell would go and steal some kid’s lunch money. That’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. That’s Manziel.
We saw the EHP last week with Manziel. “I’m not the guy that I’ve always been,” he told reporters. “I’m not the Johnny Manziel that came in here a year ago. It’s been a year of growing up for me.”
See what Manziel did there? He invoked learning, growing up. Key words. Buzzwords that he knows have worked for him in the past. Words he knows will fool. Then came the kicker quote: “This is a job for me now, and I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first.”
Oh, he’s good. Really good.
Of course, just a week after he said that, Manziel was late for medical treatment.
It should be noted that when Manziel interviewed with teams at the combine, some saw through him. They didn’t believe him. They were able to see through his act. Teams like the Browns could not. He suckered them.
So here we are. Whenever Manziel says he will try harder or be more accountable or be more mature, just remember the Eddie Haskell Phenomenon. The EHP. Just remember Manziel can’t be believed.
Oh, and remember, this wasn’t the first time Manziel “overslept.”
2. Browns almost certainly will look for another quarterback
The Browns are leaning heavily this way. What I can say with great certainty is the coaching staff doesn’t trust Johnny Manziel. Not saying they never will, but it’s to the point that coaches there don’t want to put their careers and livelihood into Manziel’s hands. Can’t say that I blame them.
Browns general manager Ray Farmer said at a press conference Tuesday:
Translation: They will be looking for a franchise thrower.
So don’t be stunned if the Browns make a move in the draft to get a quarterback—even picking one high in the proceedings—and add yet another name to this infamous jersey:
Well, all of you jealous sports people, just keep on keeping on ragging! We know the true color of the story!
Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings, instead of your own.