Texas A&M Maroon and White spring game

2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel throws a pass during an alumni game during halftime of Saturday's Maroon & White game at Kyle Field.

Eagle photo by Laura McKenzie

As time expired on the first half of Texas A&M’s spring game, a 60-yard field goal attempt fell well short of the crossbar at the north end zone of Kyle Field.

Like a dream sequence out of 2012, former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel caught the missed attempt on the fly and returned it onto the playing field where a few Aggie players, including 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia, feigned a tackle or two.

The nostalgia of the impromptu moment brought a roar from the crowd of 48,129 that filled Kyle Field for the exhibition contest.

As time continues to tick on the reality of Manziel’s #ComebackSZN, fans are left to wonder if that is the last game action Manziel will see in his career.

The Heisman Trophy winner returned to Aggieland Saturday to take part in A&M’s first-ever legends flag football game during halftime of the Aggies’ spring game.

“I feel very fortunate,” Manziel said. “I feel very blessed. It’s great for me. It’s great for my mental psyche. It’s great for everything to get back and to get to a place like this that has done nothing, even through the ups and downs, but show me love.”

Manziel’s touchdown passes to former A&M cornerback De’Vante Harris and former defensive end Spencer Neely in the flag football game capped off a two-week football journey for the quarterback.

Thursday, Manziel finished his stint in The Spring League, a two-week showcase for players looking to find an NFL home, with a 188-yard performance, including two rushing touchdowns. He lost both of the exhibition games he played for the South Team in the showcase.

“It doesn’t get much better,” Manziel said Saturday. “I got a chance to put the pads back on. I got a chance to put my cleats back on and go out and get tackled and get hit and have blood in my mouth and have a lot of fun reading defenses and doing football stuff again.”

However, after playing full-contact football for the first time since he was cut from the Cleveland Browns after the 2014 season, he said he let the jitters get the best of him.

“The first week I think I let the pressure of everything get to me a little bit, because there are only so many opportunities you get and you feel like if you struggle in a situation like that then it’s the end of the world,” Manziel said.

Now, with his padded showcase opportunities behind him, Manziel said he’s taking a backseat to all of the hype and letting his agent, Erik Burkhardt, take the reins.

“I remember how it was in the past when I let certain talk or articles or anything like that hype me up and get me to a point where I think I’m doing something or something is about to happen and it doesn’t,” Manziel said. “That seemed to make me crash a little bit.”

Manziel hopes to earn a spot on a NFL roster this season, but said he will ultimately play anywhere that will have him, including the Canadian Football League. Over the winter months, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had a two-year deal on the table for Manziel.

“I feel really healthy in my life, both physically and mentally,” Manziel said. “Things right now in my life are going really well. I’m not going to change that path. I’m not going to change what I’ve been doing just because there are outside uncertainties. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. If not, I’ll find a place to play football somewhere, wherever that might be.”

As Saturday proves, Manziel is always welcome to throw passes in the house he helped build, Kyle Field.

“He’s amazing,” former A&M and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen said. “That guy is amazing. Best guy ever to play for the maroon and white. He’s unbelievable.”

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