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And Another Thing

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Associated Press
Johnny Manziel talks to the media during an NFL youth event at the Cleveland Browns practice facility on Friday.

Johnny Football punts on hype

File | Associated Press
He's not Peyton Manning, who's always been so monk-like you half expected him to break into Gregorian chants at the line of scrimmage.

The irony, of course, are all those tape recorders and minicams.

At least a dozen, by my count. Plus a guy shooting video on his phone. All of them gathered around Johnny Manziel to hear the Cleveland Browns' sensation-in-waiting (or bust-in-waiting) say he's tired of all the attention -- which of course attracts even more attention, as evidenced by the tape recorders, minicams, etc., etc.

Listen: I'm on the kid's side here. I think it's absurd that there's a hoo-ha every time Manziel does what any 21-year-old does on his weekends off. He's not a monk, and, while he's a public figure, he's a public figure who's not showing up on any police blotters. Yet he gets TMZ-ed every time he goes to a party or hangs out with his buds, which unavoidably leaves the impression he's doing something wrong even if all he's doing is, well, going to a party or hanging out with his buds.

As long as he stays away from perp walks, shows up for work on time and busts his tail while he's there -- which by all accounts he's doing -- why should that matter?

Doesn't to me. Doesn't to anyone I know who has any semblance of a life that doesn't involve hanging out on the internet in their mom's basement all day.

That said, complaining about the hype isn't going to do anything but make this worse for Manziel, because the immediate response will be that he's gone out of his way to court that hype. I'm not sure that's true, but his flamboyance on the field has created massive interest in his occasional flamboyance off it.

Maybe that wouldn't be the case if he were a more boring quarterback. But if he were, he'd never have won the Heisman, and the Browns never would have taken him in the first round. And he wouldn't be surrounded by all those tape recorders, minicams, et al.

So he has to take the bad with the good, and complaining about it isn't going to make it go away. I guess he could attempt to make it go away by not having any fun on the weekends, but then he wouldn't be who he is.

He's not Peyton Manning, who's always been so monk-like you half expected him to break into Gregorian chants at the line of scrimmage. And in any case, Manziel's not in the same place in his life right now. So why would anyone expect him to be?

Yet they do. And so, unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether Manziel is tired of the hype or not. He and the hype are joined at the hip, and the condition is inoperable.

He is, after all, Johnny Football. And you can't kill Johnny Football.

Ben Smith's blog.

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