Johnny Manziel's Immaturity Resembles That Of Ryan Leaf

By Tylor Walden
Johnny Manziel
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is one of the most polarizing draft picks entering the 2014 NFL season. Perhaps there are times where the fame is getting to his head.

On Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins, Manziel struggled to get a rhythm going for most of the game. He ended up finishing the game 7-for-16 passing with 65 yards and a touchdown. Granted the touchdown helped the Browns get right back into the game, but it was still a subpar performance that does not warrant him winning the starting job.

And let’s not forget the trending topic of Manziel’s game. It was remembered not for his performance, but his immaturity by flipping the bird towards the Washington bench after an incomplete pass. There is no room in the league for that kind of gesture, especially if you are a rookie.

The way that Manziel has appeared in my eyes with his poor performances, his previous party lifestyle and his immaturity reminds me of a similar quarterback who was drafted all the way back in 1998. Yes folks, I am referring to former San Diego Chargers first-round draft choice Ryan Leaf. His career was remembered for a lot of off-the-field incidents, including saying in a player interview that he would go to Vegas if he was picked No. 1 overall, not showing up to his interview with the Indianapolis Colts and even yawned in his introduction interview with the Chargers. This also includes a heated exchange with a reporter telling him to “Knock it off!” and various arguments with teammates and the front office. His immaturity was not liked by fans and teammates, which led him down the road towards an early retirement.

Now I am just saying that the immaturity resembles that of Leaf in some aspects. I am not questioning Manziel’s work ethic, but he needs to learn to grow up and become a better football player. He should know by now that all the cameras are going to be on him, and he cannot let the pressure of playing in the NFL get the better of him. Leaf and Manziel are two completely different players and are not the same regarding how they played the game, but the immaturity of Manziel is slowly starting to remind me of Leaf.

I believe his latest gesture should not warrant him the starting job, at least not yet. The team would make a huge mistake starting Manziel in Week 1, because I fear that he could end up like Leaf if he does not improve on his performance and his attitude. Leaf did have brief success, but it all fell apart in front of him and he turned to blaming others and injuries instead of taking any of the blame. If Manziel falls into that hole, there is a good chance that not a lot of people are going to like him and he will be out of the league in no time.

Manziel does have the talent to become a great quarterback. He should not be blowing it due to his immaturity, because that will take him down a dark path. Focus on becoming a better player and turn off the ego, because it is not a good look on you. Leaf fell under the pressure of becoming a polarizing player back in the day and lost his career because of it. Manziel better watch his step or he will have that same fate.

Tylor Walden is a Denver Broncos writer for Follow him on Twitter @TylorDWalden, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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