Former NFL wide receiver Tim Brown, who won the Heisman at Notre Dame in 1987, was in South Bend, Ind., on Monday for an annual golf tournament he sponsors, and he said Texas A&M deserves some of the blame in the Johnny Manziel mess.
Brown told WNDU-TV in South Bend that Manziel was allowed "too much freedom" by the school.
"I've been in two places where he was unsupervised," Brown told the station. "I was in Connecticut and I was in Florida, and he was there on official school business with no one there with him. I don't know how smart that is."
Brown also told the station that while student-athletes are not overly scrutinized, schools in general should do more to protect them.
"The problem is that once people get to us, it becomes an impossibility to say 'no' because what they are offering is so great. As much as you want to say 'no' and do the right thing, it's tough to do," Brown said.
Brown told the South Bend Tribune that Manziel was in a tough position because of his youth; Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman.
"The thing with most Heisman winners is you have about three weeks of eligibility left [after you win]," Brown said. "Wait until your bowl game, and then you're out. Well, this is a kid who could possibly be in college for another two years before he was going to leave."
Brown said A&M "just sort of left him out there. If somebody from A&M had been there, he wouldn't have been involved in that situation. It's really incumbent on people around him to protect him."
Former NFL running back Tony Dorsett, who won the Heisman at Pitt in 1976, was at Brown's golf tourney, and he, too, weighed in on Manziel to the Tribune.
"He's a young guy -- and everybody keeps saying that -- but you can only use that for so long," Dorsett said. "And Johnny has to grow up, and he's going to have to grow up real fast and understand the dos and don'ts of being a young man and in life in general."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.