Here I go again: A Redskins source told me two years ago that Mike Shanahan (and coordinator son Kyle) weren't nearly as sold on Robert Griffin III as owner Dan Snyder, who pushed to trade up to No. 2 to take him. I was so convinced about RG3 that I predicted he'd turn out to be even better than Andrew Luck -- and he certainly outplayed Luck in their rookie season.
But predictably, RG3 never quite clicked with the Shanahans. Subtle friction flared into open warfare. RG3 just wasn't Their Guy. Now, it's possible Manziel won't be Kyle's Guy. You either really, really love the way Johnny Football plays -- or you just don't. Loggains clearly does, but coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be the one running the offense and calling the plays.
Manziel has a high football IQ, pride twice his size and a sixth sense for playmaking that will quickly offend an NFL playcaller with a big ego or blue bloodlines to a father with two Super Bowl rings. Good luck, Johnny.
As I preached on "First Take" before the draft: Whoever takes Manziel must be all-in. Yet it sounded as if owner Haslam was trying to placate the anti-Manziel faction in his organization when he told a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon in Canton, Ohio, that Manziel has been told he's the backup (to Brian Hoyer) and that he should "act like the backup" because Cleveland "isn't Hollywood."
No, Mr. Haslam, you want Johnny Manziel to walk into the locker room for tomorrow's rookie minicamp as if he owns the team, and you want him to immediately start backing it up on the field. You want Johnny Football to start treating Cleveland as if it's the new Hollywood, national media destination because he believes this franchise is headed through Cincinnati and Baltimore and Pittsburgh toward its first Super Bowl.
Johnny Cleveland can make you Jimmy Football, if you let him, Mr. Haslam.
Yet: I must admit, Haslam's message to Manziel might concern his after-hours behavior even more than his rookie humility. I've now heard from several sources that the main reason Manziel fell to 22 had more to do with his partying/drinking than his height/durability/scrambling.
One story that made the NFL rounds just before the draft: The Texans had asked Manziel to lie low and remain on his best behavior. Yet, about a month before the draft, Manziel attended the Masters ? where he appeared to have too much to drink.
For the record, he was with his dad and uncle, and Jordan Spieth, who led the Masters through seven holes on Sunday, is one of his closest friends.
But I've said on air several times over the past two years that Manziel's drinking disturbs me. I'll also be the first to admit I overreact to alcohol abuse because my father drank himself to death by the time I was 22 (cirrhosis of the liver, thanks to vodka and Coke from breakfast to bedtime) while my mother finally saved herself by going to Alcoholics Anonymous. Forty years she has stayed sober, yet she will not miss a weekly meeting because, she says, she has a disease.
I watched my mother's brother drink himself to death at age 38, and my grandmother sometimes had to send me to the basement when my grandfather came home -- he was a raging bull of a drunk. I know alcohol, and I don't drink.
I've been around Manziel enough to say I do not see can't-stop alcoholic tendencies in him. Not yet. But his highly publicized lapses in judgment sometimes involved senses dulled by strong drink.