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Drew Brees: Johnny Manziel can ‘absolutely’ be a starting quarterback in NFL

Johnny ManzielNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows plenty about having the odds stacked against him. Despite standing at just 6-feet tall, Brees is one of the best passers in the NFL. Other Elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are nearly six inches taller than Brees, but the former Purdue star lights up the scoreboard just the same.

In that sense, Johnny Manziel and Brees have something in common. Manziel is 6-foot-1 and many scouts have questioned whether or not he can become an effective quarterback at the next level. During an interview with FOXSports.com on Wednesday, Brees was asked if he believes Manziel can be a starter in the NFL.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Brees said. “It’s hard for a young quarterback to come in this league and have success immediately. That’s more the exception than the rule. What those three rookie quarterbacks were able to accomplish last season — [Robert Griffin III], Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson — was pretty phenomenal. That’s not easy to do at all.”

Most people felt Brees was too small and would have too many passes batted down because of it. Nearly 50,000 career passing yards, 349 touchdowns and a Super Bowl MVP award later, and Brees has silenced each and every one of his critics. The 34-year-old believes Manziel can do the same because of his playmaking ability.

“He is a heck of a player,” Brees said. “He’s fun to watch. He makes all kinds of plays. He’s got all the playmaking ability to be a great player. [There are] guys like [Manziel] in this league. Russell Wilson and his ability to run the football and extend plays outside the pocket and throw the ball down the field. Intermediate [routes], I mean he can do it all.”

Manziel has a legitimate shot at winning another Heisman Trophy this season, as he has proven he can make elite throws in addition to scrambling. However, question marks surrounding his NFL potential have as much — or more — to do with his maturity level as they do his physical makeup. Brees alluded to that.

“You have to instill confidence in the guy’s you’re playing with so they’ll follow you and play for you so you can get the best out of them,” he said. “It’s all about leadership.”

It’s the extracurricular stuff that makes Manziel “undraftable” to some NFL teams. It’s also that stuff that could make him a steal in April if he can overcome his physical limits the way Brees did.

Did friends hint Johnny Manziel will return to college next season?

Johnny ManzielIt’s been a foregone conclusion since the offseason that Johnny Manziel would leave for the NFL after the college football season. Manziel was so good as a redshirt freshman last season, and had grown so much in popularity, that it seemed like college was no longer a good fit for him. Even Texas A&M officials seemed to indicate over the offseason that they really couldn’t handle him any longer and that he’s outgrown them. But all the offseason craziness involving Manziel — and the autograph scandal — quieted down over the past month and, at 8-2, A&M hasn’t enjoyed the dream season they were perhaps envisioning. Does that mean Manziel has some unfinished business at the collegiate level?

Two of Manziel’s closest friends sent tweets over the weekend that were either jokes intended to mislead Aggies fans, or an indication that Manziel is thinking of returning to school for his junior season.

Here’s what Manziel’s close friend and business manager Nate Fitch said in an ambiguous tweet on Saturday:

And then there was this from Steven Brant, who is another close friend/roommate of the quarterback:

On Saturday, Manziel acted like he had just played his last home game at Kyle Field. After the win over Mississippi State, he went into the stands to sing the “Aggie War Hymn” with fans:

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Little kid dresses as Johnny Manziel in his Scooby Doo costume for Halloween

Little-kid-Johnny-Manziel-Scooby-Doo

Johnny Manziel is popular enough that he could easily be his own Halloween costume. The problem with dressing as a football player for Halloween is that it can be expensive and/or unidentifiable. Here, we have a fantastic solution.

Last year, Manziel dominated the Halloween scene by dressing as Scooby Doo and having girls flock all over him. As Clay Travis pointed out, Manziel chose to wear the same costume again this year. So what did the parents of the child you see above do? They dressed their son up as Johnny Manziel — as Scooby Doo — for Halloween. Genius.

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Johnny Manziel reportedly out of sling, fine to play Saturday

Johnny ManzielJohnny Manziel is out of a sling and should be fine to play in Texas A&M’s game on Saturday against Vanderbilt, according to a report.

Manziel hurt his shoulder last weekend in a loss to Auburn after being tackled at the 2-yard line on a run in the fourth quarter. Manziel missed the rest of the series and the next one, but he returned to the game and was able to throw passes.

A&M receiver Mike Evans told reporter Brent Zwerneman on Tuesday that Manziel was in a sling during Monday’s practice to keep his shoulder immobilized. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman said Tuesday Manziel was out of the sling and “fine to play” on Saturday against Vandy.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin has only said that he hopes Manziel will be able to play. If Manziel is unable to play, backup Matt Joeckel would get the start.

The Aggies are favored by 17 points in the game.

Referees missed horse collar tackle on Johnny Manziel at end of game

Referees missed an obvious horse collar tackle by Auburn to bring down Johnny Manziel in the final minute of the Tigers’ 45-41 upset win over Texas A&M on Saturday. The teams combined to score 31 points in the fourth quarter, with Auburn’s 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive standing up as the final score.

Manziel, who returned from a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the quarter, got the ball back at the 35 with 1:19 left. The Aggies got down to the Auburn 18 and were pushed back to the 26 after a sack. On third and 18, Manziel scrambled to his left for five yards and was brought down by a horse collar tackle from Kris Frost. Unfortunately, the referees did not call a penalty, which is supposed to be 15 yards and an automatic first down. A&M should have had a first down inside the 10 instead of 4th and 13 at the 21 and the game ending on a sack.

Here’s the exact language on the horse collar tackle rule from the NCAA rule book:

All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the ball carrier down. This does not apply to a ball carrier, including a potential passer, who is inside the tackle box (Rule 2-34). Note that the tackle box disintegrates when the ball leaves it.

Yup, that missed call made a huge difference in the outcome of the game. This is pretty indisputable:

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Johnny Manziel suffers shoulder injury on run (GIF)

Johnny ManzielFor the second week in a row, Johnny Manziel headed for the sidelines with an injury. Only this one seemed a lot more serious than the last one.

[Previously: Johnny Manziel hurts left knee vs Ole Miss]

Manziel scrambled on second and goal early in the fourth quarter against Auburn and was tackled at the two. He landed on his throwing shoulder and left the game. Matt Joeckel replaced him at quarterback.

Manziel tried to pick up a football and throw it on the sidelines, but he was unable to, so Joeckel came out to quarterback Texas A&M on the Aggies’ next drive. The Aggies went three-and-out on the drive.

Manziel must have been feeling better, because he re-emerged on the sidelines around the time of the punt and was able to throw the ball. He then returned after Auburn took a 38-34 lead. He seemed uncomfortable with his shoulder, but he was still able to sling it like normal and led the Aggies to a touchdown.

In all, Manziel left on 3rd-and-goal (A&M settled for a 20-yard field goal). And then he missed their next drive, which resulted in a punt. He returned after that and led a touchdown drive.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Johnny Manziel hurts left knee against Ole Miss (GIF)

Johnny Manziel briefly left Texas A&M’s game with Ole Miss on Saturday after appearing to hurt his left knee in the first quarter.

Manziel was scrambling to his left on a first and 10 play midway through the first quarter and threw an incomplete pass. He immediately went to the ground and grabbed his left knee and was helped off the field. A&M ran the ball the next two downs and then attempted a field goal that missed.

ESPN later reported that the team put a bigger softer brace on Manziel’s left knee and that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner told Kevin Sumlin he was OK to return to the game. ESPN also believes the knee Manziel grabbed was the same one he sprained last year against Missouri.

Manziel was back in the game on the team’s next possession, but not after giving his team a scare for a while.

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