Fox Sports 1 analyst and ex-Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher cut right to the point earlier this week, when he was asked about Johnny Manziel’s actions during Texas A&M’s season opener against Rice.
“I’m not saying he’s a punk, but he acted like a punk in that game,” Urlacher said. “[He's] such a good football player. You saw in the second half, what he did — three touchdown passes and ran it pretty well. It’s just too bad he had to act like that. I’m pulling for the guy. I want him to do well.”
The folks at CNBC’s Squawk Box tried to draw a similar reaction out of Patriots QB Tom Brady on Thursday. Brady joined the show via video, as part of a segment that also included an in-studio interview with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The show’s host, Joe Kernan, turned his discussion with Brady toward Manziel by saying, “You’re probably going to play against Johnny Football one day,” and then asking Brady, “What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever done in terms of flaunting? I think I’ve maybe seen a fist pump. That’s about it, isn’t it?”
Brady responded with a rather indirect comment about Manziel’s behavior.
“I get pretty emotional,” Brady said. ” I have a lot of respect for … my teammates, for my organization and certainly for other guys in the NFL. There’s not a guy playing in the NFL who hasn’t earned the right to be here, and who isn’t supremely talented.
“He’s [Manziel] probably been the best athlete in his high school class, in his elementary school class. So when you look across the ball, you have respect for those guys and treat them with respect. Football’s a physical game … and as [Kraft] would say, ‘If you’re a turd, it’s going to come back to you.’”
It’s hardly an out-of-bounds dig at Manziel’s character, but it does add yet another log to the Johnny Football fire.
Defending Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco took the Manziel controversy in the other direction over the weekend, commenting: “I don’t know if I’ll be too popular for this … 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.”
Oh, just a reminder: Even if Manziel turns pro following this college season, there still are eight months until next May’s draft. So this likely is just the beginning of all the Manziel frenzy.