National Columnist

If report is true, Johnny Football should pack it up and head to Canada

If the report is true ...

Then get out, Johnny Manziel. Don't let the door hit you on your way out of College Station, which you've already told us via Twitter that you "can't wait" to put it in your rear view. Be done with Texas A&M and the NCAA, the overbearing institutions that are depleting your joy and denying you your rightly earned payday. So says your own father.

If the report is true ...

Stop fooling around with college football. Go to Canada and solve two of the issues that pass for problems in the charmed life of Johnny Football:

1. The adoration of College Station. Too famous to walk around campus, Manziel took online courses in the spring. Here's the solution to that heartbreaking problem: Go to Saskatchewan. Move to Edmonton. Do they know his elfish face in Calgary? He should go there and find out. I'm thinking he'd like the answer.

2. The serfdom of college football. In a lengthy feature last week in ESPN The Magazine, Manziel's father complained that Texas A&M and the NCAA were too good at making money off his unpaid son. "It's starting to get under our skin," Paul Manziel told the magazine. "They're so selfish."

One way to solve that: Manziel can go to the Canadian Football League and cash his lottery ticket. The NFL has a rule against an underclassman joining its league until three years after his high school graduation, but the CFL has no such rule. The 2013 CFL season started last month, but I'm thinking a team up there would sign him up, coach him up, and turn him loose sooner than later. The game is different and the transition is most difficult for quarterbacks, says Andrew Bucholtz -- editor of Yahoo's CFL blog, 55 Yard Line -- but imagine Johnny Football in that wide-open format. Playoffs start in November.

If the report is true ...

It would be galling. There's an argument to be made that the college system is ripping off the labor, but Johnny Manziel isn't the typical college football labor. His family is loaded. We don't know how much money they have, but we know this: Manziel is the great-grandson of an oil baron. He grew up in a house on the golf course. He drives a Mercedes-Benz. Lots of athletes break NCAA rules and sell autographs for money because they need it. If the report is true, Johnny Manziel broke NCAA rules because he wanted it. And that's different.

If the report is true ...

I'd nod. Wouldn't you? Johnny Manziel has already proved to be self-destructive: the drinking, the fighting, the fake ID, even the "dead battery on the cell phone" that caused him to sleep through some counselor duties at Peyton Manning's camp a few weeks ago, which led to Manziel being sent home. Manziel's father speculated to ESPN The Magazine that his son has a drinking problem -- Paul thinks Johnny drinks to deal with the stress -- while contemplating Johnny's temper (and wondering if it comes from his drinking) and the possibility of disaster.

"It's one night away from the phone ringing," Paul Manziel told the magazine, "and he's in jail. And you know what he's gonna say? 'It's better than all the pressure I've been under. This is better than that.'"

If the report is true ...

If he signed so many items in January that people in the autograph business were taken aback by the flood of Manziel memorabilia in March, then Manziel was daring the NCAA to find out. ESPN reported on Sunday that Manziel signed much of that memorabilia in the autograph broker's home, in full view of multiple witnesses.

Did he want to be caught? Is the pressure on him so great, so unmanageable, that he's looking for an escape hatch? Manziel's the guy who deleted that tweet that said he "can't wait" to leave College Station -- and replaced it with one where he begged people to "please please walk a day in my shoes." His parents told ESPN The Magazine they don't expect him to stay in school beyond this season.

Can't play if I'm ineligible.

If the report is true ...

Johnny Manziel just threw Texas A&M's season into the toilet. He risked everything his teammates and coaches are working for because he wanted a few more bucks in his wallet, assuming there's any room left in his wallet. He drives a Benz, for god's sake. But if he's ineligible for multiple games early in the season -- the date with Alabama is the Aggies' third game -- he just drove A&M football over the cliff. The Aggies will have a decent season regardless, because Kevin Sumlin is that good, but they won't have whatever season they could have had without the best offensive player in college football running their team all year.

If the report is true ...

Johnny Canadian Football has a ring to it.

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