Perhaps the only man on earth who can even begin to relate with Johnny Manziel, when it comes to both fame and shame as a star Southeastern Conference quarterback, is Cam Newton.
So when it became known that the same law firm that helped steer Newton through choppy NCAA waters in 2010 was also assisting Texas A&M with Manziel's recent issues, the Newton-Manziel conversation was bound to follow soon.
Right on cue, Newton confirmed Tuesday to the Associated Press that the conversation has been had:
"(Manziel) has to go through these types of situations to know how to handle them in the future. When somebody comes up to you and asks for your autograph, you don't know if they're going to do it for good or bad."
Also Tuesday, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees weighed in on Manziel. And some of the very issues compelling the NCAA to consider providing more for student-athletes than just a scholarship were at the heart of his comments:
"You're a student-athlete, and you have amateur status ... you're not a pro yet. (At Purdue) I wasn't profiting off of that, but somebody was. Your name is on the t-shirts, your number is on t-shirts and everything else. I guess it's part of you earning your scholarship. That's probably up for discussion. I think it is hard for some student-athletes, depending on where you are, your background, and what school you go to, to have your own place and to feed yourself based upon your scholarship check. I think our scholarship check when I was at Purdue was maybe 400 bucks a month. My rent was $300, so was $100 enough for food over the course of a month without getting help from your parents? Probably not, but not everybody has that benefit or that luxury. So that's probably something that should be looked at."
Newton's NCAA problems and Manziel's weren't similar in any way, other than that both had their eligibility threatened over whether they received money in violation of NCAA rules. The difference? Auburn defended Newton against pay-for-play allegations, while Manziel is embroiled in a pay-for-autographs controversy.
Still, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if it were actually Lightfoot, Franklin and White who set up the contact between Newton and Manziel. The law firm would certainly be among a very limited group of people with quick access to both.
Now, if Manziel can only get the same outcome as Newton, he'll have performed his greatest escape yet.