|Eric Gay / Associated Press|
|A taunting penalty against Johnny Manziel ultimately sent the reigning Heisman winner to the bench.|
Johnny Manziel was terrific in his return to the field on Saturday after a tumultuous offseason. But troubles continued to follow him as he was benched by Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin after the QB was penalized for taunting. This after a questionable "show me the money" hand gesture and mock autograph signing aimed at Rice players.
So far, Manziel's lack of maturity and respect for authority, as well as highly questionable judgment, hasn't caught up with him. Should this latest behavior, though, be a cause for concern for NFL teams?
Disrespecting his coach will turn off NFL teamsJohnny Football is ready to headline Wrestlemania. After an offseason of getting slammed by the media, it felt as if the Texas A&M quarterback was playing into his bad guy persona to the hilt Saturday, mocking the NCAA with his continued use of his "show me the money" touchdown celebration and jawing with Rice defenders. That can be addressed, but his disrespect for Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin makes me seriously question Manziel's NFL future. If Manziel won't treat the man that has fought for him again and again and put the redshirt sophomore in position to play on Sundays with due deference, Manziel might be completely uncontrollable with millions of dollars in the bank.
Manziel has time to fix concerns about play, personaNo more so than the questions teams already had about him. These questions were already on the table, but there is a silver lining for "Johnny Football." And, it's that from this point forward he can change perceptions by his action under duress the rest of the season. Because rest assured, every opponent he faces will do their best to get him off his game ... from the moment he arrives at the stadium. Handle all the taunting, barbs, insults. Plus, be charming at all the press conferences and interviews. He needs to play like the terrific player he is. If he does all that, many questions will be answered ... affirmatively.
Size, arm are bigger issues for NFL teams to ponderWhether or not Johnny Manziel has the size and arm to play in the National Football League should and will continue to be a far greater concern for NFL execs than the knack he's shown for drawing negative attention. Why? Because Manziel's poor judgments, with the exception of one bar fight in 2012, haven't been of criminal nature. And as long as Manziel's antics aren't raising red flags with the law, they'll be easily overlooked by the NFL team that eventually wants him most.
NFL teams have greater concerns than maturityIt has been obvious for a while that Manziel has maturity issues, and his actions Saturday brought that point home. If I'm an NFL GM or coach, his immaturity is worrisome. Maybe he cleans that up going forward this season, and given that the guy is special with the ball in his hands, there will be some NFL teams that want him. But his lack of height, his lack of a cannon arm and his personality probably mean more NFL teams dislike him than like him.