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Johnny Manziel's parents worried for Heisman son

6:13 PM, Jul 30, 2013   |    comments
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College football celebrity Johnny Manziel's tumultuous life off the field has been widely documented.

Since winning the Heisman Trophy as freshman, the Texas A&M quarterback has been in the spotlight with his every move (and tweet) dissected.

Never has Manziel's personal life been covered like it was in ESPN The Magazine's latest story by Wright Thompson.

In the lengthy article, which warns for "mature subject matter and language," the reasoning behind Johnny Football's highly-scrutinized behavior was explained thoroughly and Manziel's parents, Paul and Michelle, were main subjects in the writing - expressing fear that their son's star persona will halt him from growing up, as Thompson wrote.

Most notably, his parents mandated he see an alcohol counselor and get therapy for anger issues.

Among the best quotes from Paul Manziel, who both sticks up for his son and lectures him throughout the story: "He ate Skittles, drank beer and won the Heisman."

Manziel and his father were playing golf throughout most of the in-the-life-of story.

Paul Manziel on why he doesn't like playing golf with Johnny, who's got a temper: "...he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he's wrong - and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who's gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn't gonna do it."

Another revealing tidbit from the story came with Paul's reaction to his son's arrest.

After Johnny got arrested, Paul, never a heavy drinker, quit drinking altogether, to set an example. He feels the time slipping away.

"He'll grow up," Paul says. "He'll fight the same thing with his son. And his son will think he knows it all. It's a cycle. Right? I think that's the toughest relationship in the world, fathers and sons."

After his arrest, Johnny's parents and (Texas A&M head coach Kevin) Sumlin mandated he visit an alcohol counselor; Johnny saw him six or seven weeks during the season. About the only place they still see the real him is on the football field.

"Yeah," Paul says one evening, driving in his car, "it could come unraveled. And when it does, it's gonna be bad. Real bad."

Michelle Manziel chronicled the bad side of being a famous athlete.

His mother remembers the moment she first understood that the change was affecting her son. After the shocking Alabama win, the one that earned Johnny the Heisman, a crowd gathered near the Texas A&M bus, pushing forward, crushed together, trying to see the star emerging from the locker room. Michelle watched as state troopers battled their way through the crowd with him. She saw the look in his eyes, one she'd never seen on a football field: panic and fear.

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