The Manziel Effect: The Texans Are Coming To Cleveland

KERRVILLE, Texas -- Since Johnny Manziel was chosen by the Cleveland Browns 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL draft, we've peeled back a lot of what the Texan football phenom does in his free time, how he lives his life and the zest with which he does it.

But to get a better perspective on "Johnny Football," we recently traveled to his hometown of Kerrville Texas.

That's where you will find the people who know him best, and those that root loudest for him.

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They were there when Manziel was born, and will be in Cleveland watching his NFL story unfold.

"Oh, the Dawg Pound? You are just like me. Just like me. You're gonna eat it up, you're gonna love it. You're gonna go nuts. You're gonna see something you've never seen before. You'll have to experience, an out of body experience with Johnny Manziel that is going to be so remarkable. You're just gonna eat it up," says close Manziel family friend Jim Muncie.

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There is a poorly kept secret racing through Texas and Jim Muncie, part builder, part rancher, part broadcaster, and football fanatic, can't wait to tell us about the great migration.

"Everybody, every day asks, 'When are we going? When are we going?'"

The Texans are coming.

"Oh hell, I bet thousands. Little town of Kerrville, Johnny has a big following," says Muncie, of the guy who gave Texas' Friday night lights more voltage, who made Texas A&M a contender and who became the first freshman to win a Heisman.

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"To be honest with you, most of these people didn't know where Cleveland was, whether it was a state, country, city or county," Muncie declares.

Now, they know all too well.

Take one step inside the Lazy Dog Bar, a watering hole deep in the heart of blue cowboy country. Things have changed. "Cut that wrist and you'll see blue. Now, it's brown," says one Lazy Dog patron, who is proudly wearing a Manziel Browns jersey, and he's far from alone.

Throughout the bar, the signs are up, the mood is up and soon many of these Johnny Football fans say they'll be up in Cleveland's Dawg Pound laughing, drinking and blending in beautifully.

"I was telling the guys at the Dog the other day I an put the 'J' on my chest. They all agreed I could put his whole name across. Too much real estate? You know, in the snow with a beer in my hand. You know, buck naked with Johnny across my chest," Muncie says, already thinking of that first Sunday in the Dawg Pound.

Yes, even in Kerrville Texas, population 22,000, where the Guadalupe River cuts through the city in Cuyahoga fashion, is the Dawg Pound legend known.

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"Oh yeah, if you're a sports fan, you know about the Dawg Pound. Now we really know about it. Everybody wants to be in the Dawg Pound," says Muncie.

As we tour his Kerrville home, he takes us into his room, devoted to everything Manziel. "Welcome into J.M. & J.M. World of Fantasy Football," he says.

Muncie broadcast Manziel's high school football games. Today part of his home is a shrine to the teenager turned NFL phenom, turned phenomenal friend. "Johnny and I play a lot of golf together. And that was on that trip I was telling you about," Muncie says, pointing out photos and a scorecard of their golf game together.

Every photo has a story behind it, including the photo of Muncie and Manziel together on the night in New York he won the Heisman.

It was Muncie who took Manziel to Texas A&M for his college visit. And at this point, Muncie touches on the Johnny Football legend developed off the field.

"It's great that you have synced up with a kid who has hit the jackpot of ability, popularity, and affability. Things go your way. You work at it. There's always pitfalls involved in life. As I tell Johnny it took me a while to grow up. I was probably 40 before I finally realized priority. Johnny is walking through hurdles of maturity. It just takes time," Muncie says.

And for the skeptics who believe the Manziel of the SEC won't be able to convert his talents to the NFL, Muncie says this: "Cleveland, your jaw is gonna drop. You're gonna see something that's remarkable. You're gonna embrace that kid. You won't care what he does. Whatever goes on in this world, who cares? You're gonna rename Main Street. You're gonna give him the damn key to the city."

So from Muncie's perspective, it's a sure thing. Johnny is going to perform. It's only a matter of when. The only question that looms over Muncie's head is how many games will he travel north for in the months ahead.


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