After an offseason shrouded in controversy, including most recently allegations that he took a significant amount of money for signing autographs, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was suspended for the first half of the the team’s season opener Saturday against Rice. Surely the Aggies would have no trouble with the Owls, and despite only leading 28-21 at halftime that came to fruition as they won the game 52-31.
Manziel played solidly in his half of action, going 6-for-8 for 94 yards and three touchdowns along with six carries for 19 yards. But his numbers against Rice were not what everyone was talking about after the game, it was Manziel’s on-field antics that got the most attention.
After a run during the Aggies’ second series of the second half, Manziel appeared to mimic signing an autograph as he got up from the tackle. After a touchdown pass later he rubbed his fingers together, in the universal gesture for “money”, and then after a fourth quarter touchdown pass he was seen talking to two Owls’ defenders and pointing at the scoreboard. That last event was what drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, and prompted coach Kevin Sumlin to pull Manziel from the game and re-insert Matt Joeckel, who started the game.
Being a Heisman Trophy winner obviously comes with a high level of notoriety, and being the first freshman to win the award makes Manziel even more unique. But it’s time he exhibited a level of responsibility and maturity that is also attached to the award, even if he doesn’t want to be a representative of his school and college football at-large in an effort to remain an ordinary “college kid.”
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.