Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin backed up quarterback Johnny Manziel's reaction -- or immediate lack thereof -- to Sumlin benching his star Aggie after he drew a personal foul in a win over Rice Saturday. But in a Tuesday news conference, Sumlin also acknowledged that Manziel's own actions have done something to create the negative image the third-year sophomore must confront.
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"I had somebody come in and ask me about some money signal, whatever. Same thing he did last year. A couple other players around the country are doing that. But when he does it? It's an issue. Has he painted himself into a box with things like that? Probably," Sumlin said.
After saying a little too much to a Rice defender, officials flagged Manziel for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter of a blowout win against the Owls. When he came off the field, Sumlin had a few words for Manziel, who did not make eye contact with Sumlin and made his way to the bench. Manziel was criticized in some media circles for what was perceived as ignoring Sumlin, but the coach said much the opposite Tuesday.
"It's kind of amazing to me. He came off the field and I made two statements to him, neither one of which should he have responded to. They weren't questions. They were direct statements that I can't repeat right now. What amazes me is the perception that he ignored me. The worst thing that could have happened is for him to reply, based on what I told him. People saying he doesn't listen to his coach and there's no discipline in this program, they're not around this program," Sumlin said.
Manziel was not made available to speak to the media for much of last season, and Sumlin addressed why he wouldn't be made available this week, either.
"Why isn't he talking? Coming in here and saying words isn't going to change some people's opinions about who he is," Sumlin said.
The Aggies face visiting Sam Houston State in what will be Manziel's first full game of the season.