Jerry Jones on reported Manziel card snatch: 'It got close to that'

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on NFL Network late last month that the Cowboys were "that close" to drafting Johnny Manziel in the first round in May. Now we're getting a better idea of how close "that close" really was.

The Dallas Morning News has a copy of a new book, "Manziel Mania," by longtime sportswriter Jim Dent. Dent writes that Jones went so far as to put Manziel's name on the Cowboys' draft card. But Dent wrote that Jones' son, Stephen, the team's executive vice president, "snatched (the card) straight out of his dad's hand."

Jones addressed the report on Tuesday morning during an interview with Dallas/Fort Worth radio station 105.3 The Fan. He didn't dismiss the notion that his son talked him out of drafting Manziel, but as far as the reported card snatching, Jones hinted pretty strongly that it didn't happen.

"Figuratively speaking, it got close to that," Jones said. "It certainly was a big debate going on, if no place else other than my mind.

"If anybody could talk me out of it, Stephen could. Let's leave it at that."

Dent also reported in his book that the six-year extension Tony Romo signed before last season was one of the things that kept Dallas from picking Manziel, which Jones confirmed.

"(Jim Dent) was privy to someone that had my read pretty good in there, because ultimately that was the problem," Jones said. "Being behind Romo for those years and whether or not that was really the best way to use that pick."

Of course, Dallas instead drafted Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin; "Johnny Football" ended up going six picks later, to Cleveland with the 22nd pick.

Dent writes that had Stephen Jones not intervened, "Jerry would have drafted (Manziel) and 'JFF' would have sat for at least three years behind Tony Romo."

"I like where we ended up, but there's no doubt, there was a long thought -- at least on my part," Jones said. "Stephen certainly had his ideas. The rest of the room had their ideas."

Manziel in Cleveland has been a big enough story. "Johnny Football" in Big D? The mind reels.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.