While Johnny Manziel prepares for the 2014 NFL Draft, the brand of Johnny Football will begin to take shape off the field. After a Heisman Trophy, 20 wins and the SEC single-season record for total offense, there should be plenty of opportunities for Manziel to cash in on his superstar status.
Earlier this week, ESPN reported that Manziel has decided to sign with LeBron James' marketing company, LRMR. The Miami Heat superstar addressed his relationship with Johnny Football on Thursday before his game against the Knicks.
Manziel said in a recent interview that he sought out James' advice last summer when he was being investigated by the NCAA this summer for signing autographs for memorabilia brokers.
"We're happy we're able to be a friend of his and be able to help," James said before the Miami Heat played the New York Knicks on Thursday night. "He reached out to me when he was going through a lot of off-the-field things that I didn't really -- that I thought it was just overblown. He's not the only kid who went to a college frat party or the only college kid to have fun. But obviously he's Johnny Manziel, so it is blown out of proportion."
James said he routinely sent text messages to Manziel before and after Texas A&M games to offer encouragement to the QB. Manziel recently spent time in Miami before he made his decision to enter the NFL draft and was seen sitting courtside at a Heat-Golden State Warriors game last week.
James contends that he did not foresee the friendship leading to a business relationship, but he "was happy to help." LRMR is run by Maverick Carter, James' friend and business partner.
"After long discussions with my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, I have decided to make myself available for the 2014 NFL Draft," Manziel told CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman on Wednesday. "The decision was such a tough one for me because of how much I wanted to go back and be with all those guys that I love playing with, and to work with Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and Coach (Jake Spavital) Spav and be part of a program that's continuing to grow. But I felt like this is what's best for me now.
"I feel very relieved. It's a weight off my shoulders. I'm ready to become a professional and dedicate myself to making my dream a reality of becoming the best quarterback I can be."
According to Feldman, Manziel plans on re-locating to San Diego to train with private quarterbacks coach George Whitfield for the next few months before the NFL Combine.