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May 09, 2014

Jerry Jones: Manziel “is a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley” and too big a distraction to be a backup

Owner Jerry Jones continues to maintain that the Cowboys spent little time considering Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

 Jones said the decision to pass on Manziel and choose Notre Dame tackle Zach Martin with the 16th overall pick had everything to do with the presence of quarterback Tony Romo already on the roster.

Manziel was the higher ranked player on the Cowboys draft board when they took Martin, Jones said. 

 Jones wants it clear that he thinks Manziel will be a great player in the NFL and while the Cowboys did let the prospect of taking him cross their mind, the spectacle the Manziel hype in Dallas was just as big a deterrent as the presence of Romo.

 Jones actually echoed Manziel, who said "I don't know if the world could have handled that, honestly." Jones said the media explosion would have been out of control, also causing an unwanted quarterback controversy.

 "The one sure thing was that if he were a Cowboy this morning, it was going to absolutely be not only everything and what he is in the NFL and what have you, but there was no question it was going to be Romo and him in some form or fashion in every conversation," Jones said. "There was no way it couldn't have been that.

"Of course, as far as their ability to practice, come to meetings, be team players and what have you, I really know Romo too well, and look at his situation, and that would have worked. That was something to think about but not necessarily to worry about.

"At the end of the day, where we are is that there's no way we're not going to be without Romo for the next four, five, six, whatever you want to say years."

 Again Jones doesn’t hide his appreciation for Manziel’s abilities and calls him a player you change your direction for.

 "He's got a chance to knock it out of the park, and we all know that," Jones said.

So much so that him coming to Dallas a backup to Romo wouldn’t work for anybody involved.

And when you add the specter of his celebrity status hanging over the situation from Day 1 it was even too much for a master salesman like Jones to want to handle.

"It was too significant for him to be an insurance policy," Jones said Friday night. "There's just too much dynamic here for him, for the franchise, for everybody. That's just too much for insurance, and it's not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He's a celebrity. He's Elvis Presley."

 So if Manziel is Elvis Presley, who is Romo, considering he has been a popular lightening rod throughout his career himself.

“He’s George Strait,” Jones said with a smile, giving a nod to the Strait concert June 7 at AT&T Stadium.

It’s a example of Jones loving the art of the hype but shying away from the glare of Manziel.

 Clarence Hill

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