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INDIANAPOLIS — Johnny Football is coming to the NFL, and it promises to be a blast.

He can throw. He can run. He can really throw on the run. He dazzles. He stops your breath.

He's a big thing in a small package, waiting to happen.

At least that's the expectation.

Johnny Manziel will enter the NFL with the challenge to duplicate the magic that he produced at Texas A&M and resurrect some pro franchise.

Even at 5-11¾.

We know he's game. Manziel, living up to his cocksure calling card, recently told The Houston Chronicle that the Houston Texans "would be crazy" if they didn't select him with the No. 1 pick overall — which would surely make the local fan base go a bit bonkers.

It was like he was daring the Texans — who might also opt for Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney — to take him or forever regret it.

"I wish there would have been other comments from the article taken more seriously than that one in general," Manziel said Friday during the NFL Scouting Combine. "The main thing I wanted to portray that was more in the subplots of the article was that whatever team I do end up with…each one of those guys is now my teammate, my brother and if I'm on the field with those guys, whatever it takes to be successful, I'm going to do anything for that team."

Man, those perceptions — fueled by Manziel's swagger and charisma — can be a beast.

MORE: Manziel at ease in Indy news conference

TEXANS: Feeling no pressure to take Manziel No. 1 overall

Why backtrack on the "crazy" comment now? If that was his confidence speaking, so be it.

After all, Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

As for the Texans, they were hardly insulted.

"He's a colorful, confident guy," Texans general manager Rick Smith said, a few minutes before Manziel showed up in the Media Center at Lucas Oil Stadium. "You've got to appreciate that about him."

COLLEGE 'IN THE PAST'

During Manziel's 15-minute press conference before an overflow media crowd — oddly, a warm-up act to Saturday's session with Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft prospect — Manziel fooled you if you were expecting some screaming headlines.

He had plenty to say, for sure, but said nothing outlandish.

Manziel didn't live up to the hype about him, so to speak. He was cool enough, and plenty confident. Yet he was mellow to the point of being a bit boring — for all the right reasons.

Undoubtedly, this was by design to send a message: Johnny Football can carry himself in a reserved manner that belies the face of the franchise.

Manziel needs to convince NFL teams that he's mature enough to handle the scrutiny and the pressures of a high-profile job much more than proving he can drill a throw on a 20-yard out pattern.

Given his off-the-field dust-ups during his college career — including a disorderly conduct arrest, social media posts fueling an image as a big-time partygoer, an NCAA violation related to autograph signings — there is reason to wonder if Manziel will someday embarrass his NFL franchise.

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And if that franchise is not the Texans, maybe it's the Jacksonville Jaguars (picking third in the draft), the Cleveland Browns (fourth) or the Oakland Raiders (fifth).

Are you prepared to change your lifestyle when you become the face of an NFL franchise?

Whenever I decided to make this decision to turn professional, it was a time to really put my college years in the past," Manziel responded. "This is a job now. There's guys' families, coaches' families and jobs and all kinds of things on the line. It won't be a hard thing to kick or anything really a hard deal to not do. I'm extremely focused on whatever organization I''ll be at and really pouring my heart out, trying to be football 24/7 with that team."

ACKNOWLEDGES COUNSELING

In college, Manziel visited with "something along the lines of a counselor," he said, to address issues with anger management and alcohol – which surely has the attention of NFL teams weighing his future. On Friday, he acknowledged having sessions, but tried to downplay it and refrain from categorizing it as therapy.

That may have been a matter of semantics.

"I went after last spring," he said. "Coach (Kevin) Sumlin kind of came to me and said they have an in-house guy, wanted me to sit down and meet with him. I was more than willing to learn whatever I could from him and sit down and have meetings with him. Those continued throughout the next couple of years. Had a great relationship with him. It was really nothing more than that."

A lot of players come to the combine and try to explain issues with the best possible spin. Some proceed to back up the talk, while others have not.

Given Manziel's position, any and everything is subject to underscore the risk-reward factor.

For all of the buzz about his official height being one-quarter-inch under six feet, that only begins to size up Manziel.

We've seen short quarterbacks succeed, such as Drew Brees, with his slew of NFL records. And what fortunate timing that Russell Wilson, 5-foot, 10-inches, just won a Super Bowl.

We've also seen quarterbacks with prototype size become colossal busts. Think Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell.

That's why the real essential measure of Manziel's worth involves the crucial elements that extend beyond his enormous talent.

Will Manziel — who earned high marks for work ethic at Texas A&M — put in the hours in the NFL and prove to be a grinder?

Will he get sidetracked by marketing ventures that could set up Johnny Cash Cow?

Does he have the football IQ to combat sophisticated NFL defenses?

Will his demeanor prove to be a help or a hindrance?

Will Manziel have fewer distractions and better focus if he lands out of Texas?

These are among the relevant questions — the mental makeup — that need to be answered during the draft process.

Manziel won't throw with the other quarterbacks on Sunday. He will show off his arm during a March 27 pro day at Texas A&M and in subsequent private workouts.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, though, was eager to interview Manziel during the combine to get a feel for his humility. Bradley likes the kid's confidence, but wants to see how it's balanced.

"If you have humility, you can talk about your weaknesses and that's how you improve," Bradley said. "The confidence is great and all that, but are you willing to get better and challenge yourself like Peyton Manning and all the great quarterbacks? Can he challenge himself in a way that he's open to being coached and self-evaluate the areas he needs to improve?"

Projecting that could be a swing factor for make-or-break promise.


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