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Jerry Jones admits Johnny Manziel was highest on Cowboys’ draft board at 16

Jerry JonesThere was a lot of talk before the draft that Jerry Jones was high on Johnny Manziel and that the former Heisman Trophy winner would be in play for the Cowboys if he fell to No. 16. So when Manziel was still available at 16th overall when Dallas was on the clock, the drama-loving public was screaming for Jerruh to pull the trigger on Johnny Football. Unfortunately for us who love great theater, Dallas passed on Manziel and went with Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin instead.

A day later, the truth has finally come out.

According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Charean Williams, Jerruh admitted Friday that Manziel was the highest-rated player on the Cowboys’ draft board at 16, but he felt the team has too much invested in Tony Romo to make that pick.

There’s two factors here. First, Jerruh invested a lot into Romo when he signed the quarterback to a six-year, $108 million extension last year. Romo is 34 and coming off back surgery, but he’s still Jerruh’s boy.

The other factor is that Manziel is not your ordinary backup; he would bring Tim Tebow-like attention with him. Drafting him would lead to so much speculation and questions it wouldn’t be fair to Romo.

“It’s not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley,” Jones said Friday, via Tim McMahon.

So, yes, the Cowboys really liked Manziel, but with Romo at quarterback already, taking him at 16 just was not realistic for them.

LeBron James already in Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns jersey

LeBron James Johnny Manziel Browns jersey

LeBron James is buddies with Johnny Manziel and really wanted his Dallas Cowboys to select the former Heisman Trophy winner 16th overall in the draft. That didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean James won’t be cheering on his friend in the NFL. In fact, LeBron already is sporting a Manziel Cleveland Browns jersey.

Manziel signed with LeBron’s marketing agent — Maverick Carter — and has already begun using a similar image-building strategy. LeBron and Johnny connected while Manziel was at A&M, and the quarterback credited the Heat star for giving him advice on dealing with all the attention and scrutiny. They have remained in touch since then. But just because they’re friends, don’t expect Manziel to influence James to return to the Cavaliers.

“I don’t think I can do that,” Manziel said at his introductory press conference Friday when asked if he could convince LeBron to return to Cleveland.

Getting him to wear the jersey is a good start.

Photo: Twitter/WFNY Scott

Homeless person convinced Jimmy Haslam to draft Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns

What if I told you that a homeless person is the reason the Cleveland Browns selected Johnny Manziel? Would you believe it? Well that’s the story ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio was selling to viewers.

After the Browns traded up four spots to take Manziel at No. 22 overall in the draft, Paolantonio shared a story about what convinced team owner Jimmy Haslam to draft the Heisman Trophy winner.

As SalPal shared, Haslam can go out to dinner in his home state of Tennessee without being bothered. But when he goes out in Cleveland, he hears from the fans constantly. And it was the words of one particular person that convinced Haslam that he had to have Manziel.

[Video: Manziel and Nick Saban share awkward handshake at draft]

“I was out to dinner recently, and a homeless person was out on the street,” Paolantonio says Haslam told him. The homeless person “looked up at me on the street and said: draft Manziel.”

According to Paolantonio, that convinced Haslam that the Cleveland Browns fans wanted Manziel.

And you know, whenever the fans tell you to do something, you ALWAYS listen. Because they’re the experts and you’re not. Especially homeless people. They do a better job breaking down film than anyone in an NFL scouting department.

Also see: Johnny Manziel goes stag, no girlfriend at NFL Draft

Browns dominate first round, trade up to get Johnny Manziel at 22

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns

Credit the Cleveland Browns for working the NFL Draft masterfully.

The Browns had the No. 4 overall pick and there were rumors that they might select Johnny Manziel, though more recently reports said they would not take him that high. That obviously didn’t mean they were not interested in him, because they made three trades on the first day of the draft and came away big winners.

First the Browns traded the No. 4 pick to Buffalo in exchange for the 9th overall pick, a first-round pick in 2015 and a 4th-round pick in 2015. Then they moved up a spot to the No. 8 slot to select cornerback Justin Gilbert.

But the Browns weren’t done dealing. They traded the 26th and 83rd overall picks to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to number 22 to draft Manziel, who had been falling in the draft.

“To be here it feels right,” Manziel said to ESPN after being selected.

I believe Manziel is the exact kind of guy who can turn around the franchise in Cleveland. As we outlined earlier, they’ve gone through multiple terrible quarterbacks over the past two decades. They need a franchise guy. They finally have one.

Brady Quinn didn’t work out for Cleveland at No. 22. Neither did Brandon Weeden. Manziel will.

Johnny Manziel and Nick Saban share awkward handshake (Video)

Johnny Manziel Nick SabanNick Saban was at Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft on Thursday, and the Sabanator ran into Johnny Football while he was there. The result was a weird handshake and embrace that was quite befitting of Saban’s awkwardness.

The Alabama coach gave a handshake to Manziel and then the quarterback’s mom. Then Manziel went in for a hug type thing and ended up giving Saban a pat on the shoulder. The Sabanator did his best to reciprocate, but you could tell he really didn’t know what to do. Interpersonal interactions are not Saban’s specialty, to say the least.

So good.

Video via @Lana

Johnny Manziel going single, no girlfriend at draft

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeThough some of the star quarterbacks in the NFL Draft are well known for their girlfriends, Johnny Manziel is going a different route.

Johnny Football broke up with Sarah Savage, the model who accompanied him to New York when he won the Heisman Trophy in 2012. He’s been spotted with other women since, like model Lauren Hanley, and more recently Kyndal Kyaire. But Johnny Football is officially single now and keeping himself available to all comers.

When TMZ tracked him down outside a restaurant in New York prior to the draft, Manziel said of going stag to the draft, “it’s good to be single.”

Yes it is, especially when you’re Manziel and about to move to a new city as the franchise quarterback.

If you’re AJ McCarron and you have someone like Katherine Webb, you want to wife her up like he did. Same with Blake Bortles and his longtime girlfriend Lindsey Duke. But when you’re Manziel, why tie yourself down with one girlfriend when you can have them all? It just makes more sense this way. And he won’t have to worry about a Russell Wilson situation in a few years, either. Manziel is a lot smarter than you think, as his high Wonderlic score would attest.

And if you did see a girl sitting with Manziel at the draft and wondered who it was, that’s his sister, Meri, not a girlfriend:

Johnny Manziel sister Meri

‘Just a kid from …’ Johnny Manziel using LeBron James’ image strategy

LeBron James Johnny Manziel

If you follow Johnny Manziel on social media, you may have noticed that he has begun to use a certain hashtag that looks familiar. On Tuesday, the former Heisman Trophy winner shared the same photo on Twitter and Instagram of himself in New York.

Take note of the text and hashtag he used:

“We’re a long way from Hill Country!” he wrote. He complemented it with the “just a kid from Kerrville” hashtag.

That may seem like just a few words of no consequence, but they’re actually part of a very carefully crafted sentence by those helping to develop Manziel’s image.

Instead of being the hot shot/superstar athlete in college who was known as “Johnny Football,” Manziel is making a clear effort to develop an image of an everyday man. This is the exact same strategy LeBron James began using recently, and it has helped completely re-brand/shape James and allowed him to do a 180 in terms of public likability.

You ever notice how LeBron says he’s “Just a kid from Akron?” He says it over social media all the time.

He even says it when he’s doing interviews.

It’s a way to help humanize him and make him seem like he’s just your friendly guy next door. It helps you forget that he is one of the most talented athletes of all time who can afford to pay someone six figures just to pour his mouthwash in the morning. And whether the “just a kid from Akron” image is genuine or not, you begin to believe it because he constantly says it.

And who is Manziel’s sports agent representing him for marketing? LeBron’s management team. It’s no coincidence that they’re using the same strategy and actively playing out the “Just a kid from Kerrville” angle. I mean think about this for a second here.

This is the guy we all knew as “Johnny Football.” This is the same kid who made his name by partying in a Scooby Doo costume on Halloween; the guy who dates supermodels; the guy who’s out at the club with Lauren Hanley; and the guy who was busted in an autograph scandal. And this is the guy who’s supposed to be just some kid from the country? If he keeps saying it, maybe we’ll fall for it.

Johnny Manziel Facebook

To let you know how much of a concerted image-branding effort from Manziel’s PR team this is, when Manziel unveiled his new Facebook page on Thursday, he did so with a post that said “Draft Day” and invoked the hashtag “Just a kid from Kerrville.”

Really, I have to hand it to LeBron’s management team. This is a truly brilliant strategy. But we’re on to them. They need to switch it up so it’s not so obvious.