College football

‘Johnny Football’ almost wasn’t

The Dallas Morning NewsJune 19, 2013 

Heisman Johnny Manziel Football

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2012, file photo, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Manziel could become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy when the award is presented on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

DAVE MARTIN — the associated press

— As Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s recent tweet about wanting to leave College Station is widely dissected, it’s becoming clear how close he came to departing the school and town before the “Johnny Football” sensation occurred.

A&M initially suspended Manziel for the 2012 season following his arrest in College Station’s Northgate bar district last summer, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Dallas Morning News.

Manziel, entering his freshman season after sitting out 2011 as a redshirt, would have felt it was necessary to transfer if the suspension wasn’t overturned on appeal, according to the source.

Manziel won the appeal, allowing the Heisman Trophy winning season in A&M’s 11-2 SEC debut and the rise of the Aggies to transpire.

Manziel was arrested for misdemeanors of fighting, failure to identify and possession of fake IDs around 2 a.m. on June 29, 2012.

Texas A&M spokeswoman Sherylon Carroll declined comment, citing federal student privacy laws. The athletics department was not involved in the suspension. Anne Reber, the dean of student life, ruled in Manziel’s favor on the appeal, according to the source.

At the time, Manziel was considered a likely back-up quarterback to Jameill Showers Manziel was named the starter in August, weeks before the season opener.

The details of the arrest and Manziel’s mug shot have been public fodder for the past year. A high school teammate of Manziel’s at Kerrville Tivy called a man a racial slur, according to police reports, leading to a fight. Manziel was found with fake IDs. Coach Kevin Sumlin has said that he imposed discipline.

Manziel and his parents met with Sumlin and then-offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury following the arrest. Manziel has called the incident a “critical mistake.”

“The first thing that goes through your mind is how many people you let down,” Manziel said in November of last year. “It was … something I’ll look back on as one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

At the time of the arrest, no one could’ve predicted the Manziel obsession that would take over college football. The make-something-out-of-nothing QB became the first freshman to win the Heisman. His lively social life has become the object of unprecedented scrutiny for a college athlete, thanks in part to social media such as Twitter.

Last weekend, as Saturday night turned into early Sunday, Manziel tweeted an unspecified complaint: “Bull (expletive) like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave College Station … whenever it may be.”

The comment was quickly deleted and followed by “Don’t ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes.”

Manziel, 20, has admitted to being overwhelmed with his new fame, but has continued a voracious, public lifestyle that has seemed over-the-top to some observers. His recent deleted comment about College Station inspired some backlash and wide-spread interest.

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