Texans fans call for Johnny Football

NFL fans are among the most vocal in America. They’re not afraid to let owners and coaches know how they feel, and sometimes, their dissatisfaction or disgruntled demeanor can actually cause change.

Maybe they get a player benched, or clamor so loudly for a certain draft prospect that management must give in or risk losing their allegiance.

But there is a fine line between acknowledging the opinions of the fans, and giving in to fandemonium.

Billboards are popping up around Houston begging Texans’ General Manager Rick Smith to draft Johnny Manziel No. 1 this coming May.

It makes sense. Manziel is a local boy, born and raised in Texas, with a great arm and a Heisman Trophy to prove it.

But he comes with a lot of questions.

The summer before his Heisman-winning season, the Texas A&M freshman was arrested outside of a bar in College Station, Texas, after engaging in a physical altercation and presenting campus police with fake identification.

Manziel was suspended for the entire 2012 season before head coach Kevin Sumlin intervened on his behalf. And good thing too, as the 2012 season and the heroics of Johnny Football shot A&M to national prominence and shook up the standings in the Southeastern Conference.

Fast forward to summer 2013: post-Heisman.

As the first freshman to ever win such an award, the spotlight on Manziel must have been blinding.

But that doesn’t excuse any of what happened next.

Manziel was to be a counselor — of sorts — at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. The prestigious summer camp is run by Archie, Eli and Peyton Manning, and is set up so kids grades 8-12 can be tutored by the best in the business.

So when Johnny doesn’t show up one morning after being spotted at a local bar the previous evening, things look a little fishy and he is sent home.

If NFL teams aren’t concerned at this point in the story about a lack of responsibility and an inflated ego, they should be.

After an onslaught of negative attention when the Manning Camp story broke, Manziel returned to school for his last season at Texas A&M before declaring for the Draft.

Aggies fans began to worry when allegations arose claiming Manziel had been paid for signing autographs.

The NCAA strictly forbids this kind of behavior, and the sophomore quarterback would be suspended should the claims hold true, derailing the team’s hopes of a national championship.

“NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign, and based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case,” the NCAA said in a prepared statement on the allegations against Manziel.

After being cleared by the NCAA, Manziel served his half-game suspension in Texas A&M’s season opener against Rice, and went on to lead the Aggies to a 9-4 record.

And after all that, Texans fans want to draft Johnny No. 1.

There are plenty of other high-caliber athletes with fewer red flags on their records that could serve Houston well.

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Just to name a few.

Manziel will get his shot, and he deserves it. A hack can’t win the Heisman Trophy. But NFL owners and coaches should think twice before staking the success of their team on a kid who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

Aryn is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Aryn_Braun.