You roll your eyes that scrambling, gambling Johnny Football won't be able to dodge injury in the NFL? His shoulder was hurt against Auburn (which nearly won the national championship) only because Manziel knew (1) he had a chance to put his Aggies up 14 early in the fourth quarter and (2) his defense couldn't stop Auburn. So Manziel bolted hell-bent up the middle and took on two Tigers at the 2-yard line. A third fell on his shoulder.
He missed a series while, presumably, taking a pain-killing injection, then returned to complete his next nine passes. Only an uncalled horse-collar tackle on Manziel allowed Auburn to escape 45-41.
Manziel convinced Gruden he will not take that kind of a risk in pro football. I've heard the same thing from him -- that he will happily slide if cornered in the NFL. But he will torment defenses by occasionally running -- his plant-and-cut quickness in the open field will break some ankles and bruise some pro egos.
When you talk with Manziel, he can come across as the most mature 21-year-old you've ever met, a man of a boy. But of course, he also involved himself in several crazy-kid escapades the offseason after winning the Heisman, some involving excess alcohol. Lately, though, he has learned to party smarter and avoid social-media turnovers.
So how did a white kid from Tyler, Texas, manage to become such good buddies with LeBron James and Drake? Because they know unique talent. Cool attracts cool.
As Gruden says: "Why wouldn't you want LeBron James and Drake on your sideline?"
That contagious star power will come with the Johnny Franchise package. Chip Kelly gets it. Kelly says it "broke my heart" when Manziel broke a verbal commitment to play for Kelly at Oregon.
Rumors have flown that Eagles coach Kelly has been trying to figure out a way to trade up for Manziel. Kelly would be the best coaching/scheme fit for him. Imagine the rabbits Kelly could pull out of his hat with Johnny Football running his show.
So how, I asked Gruden, can the Texans afford not to take Johnny Manziel?