Johnny Manziel Jerry Jones

ESPN did a nice, lengthy profile piece on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and one of the main highlights in it is about when he passed on taking Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel back in May's NFL Draft.

In fact, Jones admits that he's still mad he didn't take the now Cleveland Browns rookie.

"I am still so damn mad," he snaps. "I get madder, every day, about missin' him."

Going more into the article, it was revealed that Jones was the only one who wanted to take Johnny Football. Everyone else was against it, whether it's head coach Jason Garrett, his staff or the team's scouts.

Among the organization's football minds, only Jerry Jones wanted Manziel. Jones' son Stephen, the Cowboys' executive vice president in charge of player personnel, had lobbied hard against choosing Manziel -- "I'm still so damn mad at Stephen," Jerry tells me -- but Jones' younger son, Jerry Jr., told me, "I'm the head of sales and marketing -- where do you think I came down?"

Despite the fact that the Cowboys still have Tony Romo and his big contract aboard as well as distractions that could come if Manziel joined in, Jones believes that Romo could have handled all of that.

In his suite during the George Strait concert, Jones introduces me to Romo, who asks the subject of this story. Jones answers for me: "Passin' on Manziel for Romo." The surprise decision reveals something not widely understood about his boss, Romo says: He selected a sound fundamentals player needed to improve the offense, not the high-risk matinee idol of the draft. "More than anything," Romo explains, "it just shows a lot of people that we're here to win -- not just be a flashy program."

Jones is beaming. He returns the sell: "And what is amazing," Jones says, "if there's anybody on this planet that could've handled Manziel competin' with him ..." Jones drapes his left arm on Romo's right shoulder. "This guy could handle any damn thing -- this is your fighter pilot. This is your fighter pilot. This is the guy you want goin' in, droppin' and winkin' at 'em, and comin' out, and drinkin' beer. This is him. So he could handle it. It wasn't a question of not handlin' it." The analogy, such as it is, puts a smile on Romo's face. He takes a long pull on his Miller Lite bottle.

Jones says that adding Manziel could have helped the relevance for the Cowboys franchise.

"If we had picked Manziel, he'd guarantee our relevance for 10 years," Jones says.

"When we were on the clock, I said, if we pick the other guy -- any other guy -- it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons. The only way to break out is to gamble -- take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That's why I wanted Manziel, but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody ... and I'm ... not ... happy ..."



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