INDIANAPOLIS -- The media contingency at Lucas Oil Stadium flocked to the podium to take in "Johnny Football's" NFL Scouting Combine interview on Friday afternoon. The problem was it wasn't the "Johnny Football" people remember.
It was the small-town Texas boy.
Johnny Manziel, known for his hard-partying ways and colorful antics on and off the field, seemed more professional and ready for the NFL. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner talked about the misconceptions regarding his attitude and wants people to know who he isn't the Hollywood guy that everybody thinks he is.
"Johnny Manziel is a guy, I’m from a small town of Kerrville, Texas, 20,000 people," Manziel said. "Get lost in kind of the people who make me out to be a big Hollywood guy, really just still a small-town kid. Sometimes you get caught up in certain things, but at the same time continuing to learn and continuing to adapt to everything that’s going on in my life. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but continuing to be who I’ve always been is a big thing for me."
The 2014 NFL Draft crop of quarterbacks has been pegged to be one of the deepest at the position in recent memory with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater leading the way, but don't count Manziel out as a possible No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans. In the past, Manziel's size would have been an issue with NFL teams and scouts, but that's no longer the case after Seattle Seahawks diminutive quarterback Russell Wilson (5-foot-11) lead his team to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory. Manziel measured in just under six-feet, and is a duel-threat quarterback in the mold of Wilson.
"I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion," he said. "I feel like I play like I’m 10-feet tall. A measurement to me is just a number."
The knock on Manziel has never been his ability on the field, but throughout his time at College Station he's been scrutinized in each step he's taken off the field. But Friday's version of Manziel talked about this being his 'job' now and that's he's ready for whatever the bright lights of the NFL brings. And his new found persona could be in large part be tied to an NFL star.
Three-time Super Bowl champion and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady has already been in contact with the former Aggies star.
"For him to reach back out to me after I extended a text message to him it was extremely cool," Manziel said. "Kind of a funny conversation at first, worked our way into a more serious conversation, but it was really nice. I’m very thankful for him to extend a hand out to me in the situation I’m in."