Emmitt Smith on Johnny Manziel: That will be a short career lifestyle

Emmitt Smith recognizes that Johnny Manziel is young, but says he needs to mature. (USATSI)
Emmitt Smith recognizes that Johnny Manziel is young, but says he needs to mature. (USATSI)

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Some people -- like Browns coach Mike Pettine -- don't care what Johnny Manziel does in his free time. Others -- Brady Quinn, for example -- have issues with how the rookie quarterback comports himself away from the field.

On Tuesday, former Cowboys running back and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith offered a more nuanced take on Manziel's brief NFL existence and hopes that the rookie quarterback will grow into the responsibility that comes with the job.

"That lifestyle is going to be a short lifestyle -- a short career lifestyle -- if he continues that,” Smith said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan. “As we used to say, you can’t keep burning the candle at both ends of the stick. The candle gets small fairly quick. Johnny is going to have to figure it out.

“Hopefully he’s not doing anything to hurt himself outside of drinking -- which is going to harm his body and harm his performance anyway. At the end of the day, he’s going to have to learn to manage those things.”

Smith concedes that he enjoyed the trappings of being young, rich and famous, but that, ultimately, it's impossible to sustain.

“First, let’s recognize -- Johnny is young. I was young and dumb myself at one point in time," Smith said. "But maturity itself, and maturing as a professional athlete, is something that is required of every pro football player. I think right now Johnny Manziel is going to get a glimpse of what negative press can do for you. A lot of people think negative press is good press -- or any press is good press. It’s not.”

Upon his return from spending Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas, Manziel told the Cleveland media that he's going to be himself.

"I don't live my life according to you guys or according to what other people think of me,'' he said at the time. "I'm going to live my life to the fullest and continue to be committed to this game, committed to what I need to be doing here and trying to earn my place in this locker room with these coaches, with this organization.

"If I want to go out and have some fun and it doesn't hinder what my main goals in life are then I don't really care what anybody has to say.''

And as we've said all along, if Manziel wins nobody will care what he does in his off time.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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