The Houston Texans picking Johnny Manziel No. 1 overall in the NFL draft would be a great decision, Manziel said, but not picking him would be one the club would live to regret. Especially if the quarterback-starved Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed him with the No. 3 overall pick, and Houston had to play against him as a division opponent.
Double-dares aside, however, Manziel made it clear that playing for the homestate Texans is what he wants most.
"I want them to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I'm who they want," Manziel said. "I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to (owner) Bob McNair to say, 'This kid is 100 percent, can't miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.'"
Manziel played his high school ball in Kerrville, Texas. From a pure distance standpoint, it would be a stretch to suggest that Manziel is a hometown Houston kid. But Texans tend to be a close-knit group. State pride is no small matter, and not much summons Texas state pride as much as its quarterbacks. From Drew Brees to Matthew Stafford, from Robert Griffin III to Andrew Luck, they are everywhere.
But they don't all play in Texas.
"I'm a Texas kid. The state means a lot to me," he said.
Your move, Houston.
In his first public comments since announcing he would leave Texas A&M two years early for an NFL career, Manziel had plenty more to say on a variety of topics, including questions about his maturity, his rookie-year aspirations and more:
» Manziel will be asked plenty about his maturity, reputation as a partier, and off-field decisions by NFL clubs at the NFL Scouting Combine next week. He'll be well-coached for all of it, but was candid about those subjects with reporters who visited his San Diego training site as well.
"I was a kid who made some goofball decisions. That's been part of my journey. Maybe it's part of the whole Johnny Football deal that I'm trying to get away from," Manziel said. "I'm trying to show people I've grown up, and I've learned from my experiences. I feel like you're a stupid person if you continue to make the same wrong decisions. I don't want to hear, 'Oh, anybody in his situation would have been doing the same thing.' I'm 100 percent responsible for my actions."
» The era of NFL rookie quarterbacks apprenticing on a bench for a year or two is disappearing quickly, especially for those drafted in the first round. If Manziel reaches his rookie-year goal, that notion could be buried for good:
"People can call me crazy, and it's not cockiness (but), I'm going to put myself in (position) to win the Super Bowl every single year. A 5-10 guy (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson) just won the Super Bowl in his second year in the NFL," he said. "That's unreal. I want to be the first rookie to win the Super Bowl."
» Nobody can say Manziel doesn't know his Cleveland Browns history. The club has the No. 4 overall pick, but has historically had plenty of turnover at the quarterback position, and Manziel would love to try to end it if he ends up in Cleveland.
» Manziel's preparation for the combine includes film study with Kevin O'Connell, who was a New England Patriots backup quarterback when Texans coach Bill O'Brien was an assistant there under Bill Belichick. O'Connell is helping Manziel learn O'Brien's likes and dislikes about offensive football, and he can't wait to talk to O'Brien about it next week in Indianapolis.
"In Indianapolis, I want to be able to sit there and him draw a play on the board and be like, 'Coach, that was your third-and-12 play from the Super Bowl," Manziel said. "You called that on the right hash from the 42-yard line driving in to score to win the game.' I want to blow his lid off when I'm in that situation."