More than two years after Johnny Manziel's exit from Texas A&M, Kyle Allen believes the trail Manziel left remains scorched earth.
"I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny's era there -- the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there," Allen said. "They [could] do that and still win games because they had Johnny ... and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now."
While Manziel's "Johnny Football" persona brought a vast amount of attention to Texas A&M football with the ideal timing of its entry into the Southeastern Conference, it's not as though the Aggies were able to redeem it for any championships, anyway. Manziel's two-year SEC record was 10-6, good enough for celebrity attention but not good enough to even reach the SEC Championship Game, much less win it.
"A lot of people were riding off that, 'I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday,'" Allen said.
Since Manziel's departure, not much has gone right for Texas A&M, and Manziel's life has taken a troubling turn.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week the Browns will release Manziel at the start of the new league year on March 9. Manziel's ex-girlfriend alleges he physically and verbally abused her and that she feared for her life, according to sworn statements made in a protective order application published by KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday. According to the affidavit, Colleen Crowley alleges Manziel hit her multiple times during an argument that initially started at a Dallas hotel on Jan. 29.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M has settled for middling finishes in the SEC West in the two years since Manziel's departure, and the transfer exits of Allen and quarterback Kyler Murray have raised more questions about coach Kevin Sumlin's leadership.
"We had a lot of people who were talking about the same goal but weren't all committed and on the same page to get to that goal," Allen said. "For you to win in the SEC -- especially the SEC West -- 10 games a year and be a controlling powerhouse in that conference, you can't have a bunch of people going different ways."
Allen lost his starting job midseason last year, and with the subsequent transfer, his comments take on the appearance of axe-grinding. But he also had a perspective from inside the TAMU locker room that only other Aggies players could share, and if his evaluation is accurate, the program must overcome issues bigger than X's and O's.