What really happened to Johnny Manziel at the Manning Passing Academy the summer after the former Texas A&M quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and had become a media sensation? We all know he was asked to leave the event, still to this day an unheard of situation, but according to the former Aggie, one of his biggest SEC rivals may have sabotaged him at the event.
On the latest edition of Manziel’s Barstool Sports Comeback Season podcast, hosted by Manziel, Kayce Smith and Erik Burkhardt, the Heisman Trophy winner explained his side of the story from one of the most infamous offseason events in recent SEC history.
According to Manziel, former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron played a role in getting him kicked out of the camp. A move Manziel refers to as “a bunch of bullshit” on the podcast.
Manziel claims McCarron was his roommate for the event, which factors into the drama. On the podcast, Manziel claimed he jokingly referenced renting a party bus to take the camp counselors (which were fellow college quarterbacks at the Manning Passing Academy camp) to New Orleans and believes a camp counselor overhead that and took him seriously.
Manziel then recalls his return to the camp that evening after a night out at a nearby bar.
“We get back around 1 or 2 in the morning, I remember it’s me and… Bo Wallace. Me and Bo Wallace, we head back to the dorms around 1:30 or 2 in the morning,” Manziel says. “We have that 8 o’clock day the next morning, so we are obviously out a little late, right? I get back to the room and A.J.’s not there. So I’m like, that’s weird. Who knows, maybe he’s at the bar, whatever he’s doing, whatever.
“I wake up the next day, reach over to grab my phone – my charger had come out of the wall, my phone had died. So I wake up in a panic, A.J.’s not there.”
Manziel then claims he got dressed, ran across campus and tried to explain what happened to camp organizers and apologize. He says his mom showed up soon after and he was informed that he was being sent home from the camp.
Manziel then says the camp director informs him that there are reports of Manziel being in New Orleans the night before, on Bourbon Street.
“I’m like, ‘This is absolutely insane. What are you talking about? Of course I was not (on Bourbon Street).’ What I was told was, A.J. essentially went and told them the next day that he was in the room, that everything was good, that he didn’t see me and that I never came back to the room that night and they had people come to the room,” Manziel continued.
“I absolutely, 100 million percent stayed in that dorm room that night — and got kicked out of the camp for what was oversleeping when there were people saying I’m in Bourbon Street.”
“The real people that were there, A.J. being one of them, knows exactly what happened.”
Manziel said the fallout from that incident followed him for the rest of his career, including immediately after at SEC Media Days and the following summer as he prepped for the 2014 NFL Draft.
“One of the hardest things was going to SEC Media Days after that whole fiasco that wasn’t really what it was,” Manziel said. “It was a hard thing to live down, even going into NFL meetings. That was one of the biggest mishaps that I ever had to deal with… I will always forever have a weird feeling about that.
“A lot of regret for how it went because I overslept sure, I take full responsibility for missing a meeting. Extracurriculars of what I was told I was doing was absolutely not the case and maybe it was a couple other people that were there, I won’t confirm or deny anything like that but just know the quarterbacks from the 2012, 2013 year from the SEC and around college football know the deal and I still feel a little, some kinda way about that maybe.”
If McCarron really did sabotage Manziel at the camp, he helped bring a media storm around the Texas A&M program that dwarfed the attention the defending national champions received that offseason. A genius move honestly if that’s what actually happened.
It will be interesting to see if any other quarterbacks come forward to back up or deny Manziel’s recollection of the events from the infamous Manning Passing Academy.