Last year during SEC Media Days, Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin fielded only one question about Johnny Manziel, who was not even certain to be the team’s starting quarterback. The quarterback did not even have a 1,000 Twitter followers then.
What a difference a year–and a Heisman Trophy and nearly 400,000 Twitter followers–makes. Manziel may not have been ready for the sudden fame, but he has had to have on-the-job training in how to deal with stratospheric fame in the new media age.
On Wednesday, SEC Media Days became “Manziel Mania” as the the hype and questions about the one-man reality show blanketed Media Days.
“The spotlight is 10 times brighter and 10 times hotter than I thought it was two months ago,” Manziel said in an interview. “I guess I feel like Justin Beiber or something. I never thought it would really be that way.
Addressing his leaving the Manning Passing Camp early, Manziel said there was no excuse for oversleeping and it was, “Absolutely my fault.” He said he was “absolutely” not hungover and vowed to learn from his mistakes. He is, after all, still 20 years of age.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to make mistakes and the big thing for me is to learn from them and not make the same one twice,” he said. “I feel like, to be honest, I haven’t done anything criminal this offseason. I haven’t done anything like that. I’ve made my mistakes. I’m still growing up. I’m still learning from that.”
Manziel is right, but he lives in a different world now with his fame. Now that he is in the so-called fishbowl, every comment and tweet will be scrutinized, which is why he cannot glibly say people should spend a few minutes in his shoes. And he seems to be realizing that.
He said he now understands he is “very blessed, very fortunate to be in the position I am. I understand people would line up out the door to be where I’m at today.”
And then he got on a plane with head coach Kevin Sumlin and jetted to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet at the ESPY Awards, making sure the Johnny Manziel Show continues to roll.