When Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin told reporters that quarterback Johnny Manziel wouldn't be made available to reporters until the time was right, no one likely expected that time to be Saturday night. Nevertheless, in walked Manziel to the Aggies' media room following a 65-28 thrashing of Sam Houston State.
And while he answered no direct questions about the NCAA probe into his alleged offseason autographing spree, or the ESPN reporting that brought it about, he did make it clear he's relieved to be around his teammates.
Regarding the apology to his teammates that was part of the deal that got him only a half-game suspension, Manziel said:
"It was kind of an emotional deal for me. (I) was trying to get them fired up and let them know I'm here and I'm focused on this season and I love each and every one of these guys. And that these guys mean the world to me. There's so much other stuff that ... is out in the public, but we know what's in the building and in this room stays in this room."
"There's a genuine love for each and every guy on this team. That's what we're focused on, and that was the message I was trying to get across."
On TAMU's upcoming blood match with No.1-ranked Alabama:
"It feels like another game. It feels like Week 3 of the season. We've got to continue to get better as a team, and continue to get better on every aspect -- offense, defense and special teams. Having a full roster back (following suspensions) will be nice. We need to continue to get better like we did last year, week by week, and see how things go."
Manziel was also asked about how he was affected by the NCAA investigation, and indicated inside the locker room was the best place for him to deal with it.
"The biggest thing that's helped is just being around these guys, and being up here in this building and having my teammates, and still be able to be around them. It was easy to block all of the stuff out, get off everything (social media-wise) and not read everything. To grow with my teammates and continue to get better, and bond with them. To be able to be up here and spend time with them was something that was really helpful."