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Johnny Manziel's NFL career is going to end badly if he keeps this up

Manziel (Getty)
Johnny Manziel knows the world is watching, yet continues to show signs of immaturity. (Getty Images)

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Since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in May, noted college party animal Johnny Manziel has addressed those concerns by:

1. Partying in Vegas with Rob Gronkowski.

2. Guzzling from a bottle of champagne while floating on an inflatable swan in Austin.

3. Appearing on an Instagram video at a party in Houston with Drake, presumably drunk and definitely using a stack of money as a phone.

Doing one of those things is not ideal, but whatever, he's having a little fun. Doing two of them? That's a concern. Doing all three -- and all in about three weeks?

This is a train wreck we're watching.

Here's what you're not going to read: Advice to Johnny Manziel. Tell that kid to grow up? Not going to happen here. Near as I can tell, it hasn't happened anywhere. Manziel was a hellion when he got to Texas A&M and he was a hellion when he left. In between he generated so much money that coach Kevin Sumlin doubled his salary to $5 million and the school started a $450 million expansion of Kyle Field. Johnny Manziel was the Aggies' golden goose. Tough love? That was never, ever, ever going to happen at College Station.

Doesn't seem to be happening at Cleveland, either. Not yet anyway. Barely two weeks after being picked No. 22 overall, noted college party animal Johnny Manziel told Browns coach Mike Pettine that he was going to Vegas for Memorial Day. Pettine's response to his quarterback, according to Pettine himself: "Have fun."

The only place where I've seen anything resembling tough love administered to Manziel was in Wright Thompson's eye-popping ESPN The Magazine piece in July, when Manziel's father, Paul, was quoted at length as being concerned about Johnny's drinking: "It could come unraveled. And when it does, it's gonna be bad. Real bad. It's one night away from the phone ringing, and he's in jail."

Paul Manziel isn't exactly circumspect with the media. He told the New York Times in November 2012 that he bought his son a car as a bribe to get him to stop drinking as a high school junior. And that it didn't work. In the July story, Paul Manziel told ESPN that his son drinks to deal with pressure.

Whether Paul Manziel ever expressed to Johnny his concern about the phone ringing -- and it's gonna be bad, real bad -- that concern is out there, in print, and uttered by an authority figure in Manziel's life. And less than a year later, after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns and coming into a combination of pressure, free time and serious money, this is what Johnny Manziel did to address his alleged immaturity:

1. Partied in Vegas with Rob Gronkowski.

2. Guzzled from a bottle of champagne while floating on an inflatable swan in Austin.

3. Appeared on an Instagram video at a party in Houston with Drake, presumably drunk and definitely using a stack of money as a phone.

So anyway, this isn't an advice column to Manziel. The kid's a genetic lottery winner, born with abilities shared by very few people, abilities worth millions of dollars. If he doesn't have the maturity to cash in that lottery ticket and become the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, someone else will. Brian Hoyer, perhaps. It's Darwinism, survival of the fittest. If Manziel isn't fit to handle a spot on an NFL roster, someone will replace him. Boo hoo? Nah, not from me. More like: Who's next?

One thing I'm noticing this week is the lack of noise around Manziel's frat-boy summer. Have you seen much about it? Seen any hand-wringing? Me either. It's quiet, and I know why:

We're scared of the Manziel backlash. We in the media, I mean. Me right here, I know what's coming. The backlash. People who think like, um, Joe Namath, who complained about the busybodies worrying themselves about Manziel by noting, "He's gotta live his life, man. Give him some room ... In his position, he's not entitled to be a regular guy, 22 years old, 21 years old. Everything's blowing out of whack."

Two things about that: One, in the photo accompanying that story, Mr. Namath -- Mr. Voice of Reason -- is wearing a fur hoodie. Two, he's inadvertently right about this: Manziel isn't entitled to be a regular guy, 21 or 22 years old. Regular guy? Come on. Manziel's a professional athlete, and not just any professional athlete but a No. 1 draft pick. A quarterback. The Browns drafted him to be their face of the franchise. And their face of the franchise is being photographed floating on an inflatable swan when he's not slurring words into a cell phone made of money.

The thing is, Manziel knew the world would be watching. He knew the world would be clucking if he did any of the stuff he was doing at Texas A&M, when he was photographed with bottles of liquor in his hand and sparklers in his mouth and coeds on his arms. He knows people have doubts about his maturity, his ability to handle the freedom that life in the NFL affords a young millionaire.

And this is what he did, whether to stick it in the busybodies' face or simply -- and more likely -- because he can:

1. Partied in Vegas with Rob Gronkowski.

2. Guzzled from a bottle of champagne while floating on an inflatable swan in Austin.

3. Appeared on an Instagram video at a party in Houston with Drake, presumably drunk and definitely using a stack of money as a phone.

Johnny Manziel's NFL career hasn't started well. No chance in hell it ends well.

 
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