Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith joined a large group of current and former NFL players to speak out on new Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his off-field antics. Smith, who starred with the Dallas Cowboys for 13 years, has first-hand experience on how lifestyles can impact players on the field. His Cowboys weren’t without off-field issues during his stint with the team.
Smith had this to say about Manziel on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Texas (H/T Pro Football Talk).
First, let’s recognize — Johnny is young. I was young and dumb myself at one point in time…But maturity itself, and maturing as a professional athlete, is something that is required of every pro football player. I think right now Johnny Manziel is going to get a glimpse of what negative press can do for you.
Smith himself was a darling of the Dallas media during his Hall of Fame playing career. He did, however, see the likes of Michael Irvin and Nate Newton tore down by the media because of off-field exploits. While Manziel hasn’t reached that level and there is no indication that he will, Smith’s take is one of caution directed at Manziel.
That lifestyle is going to be a short lifestyle — a short career lifestyle — if he continues that…As we used to say, you can’t keep burning the candle at both ends of the stick. The candle gets small fairly quick. Johnny is going to have to figure it out.
A better comparison to Manziel’s off-field persona would likely be Deion Sanders when he was a teammate of Smith’s in Dallas. Once you start receiving more press about exploits away from the game than what you do on the field, it becomes a distraction for the team. While Manziel has yet to play a game for the Browns, he’s already the most famous athlete in Cleveland.
Is that good or bad?
Photo: USA Today