Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel will not let off-the-field pursuits interfere with the business of football.
BEREA, Ohio -- New Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel enjoys the attention that comes with succeeding on the big stage and leading his team to victories under the bright lights on the football field.
But who is Johnny Manziel, the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, when the lights shine even brighter on him when he is away from the football field? According to Manziel, he is the same person, one who wants to work hard and succeed on the field.
"I think I'm Johnny Manziel," Manziel said in his introductory press conference Friday. "Johnny Football is what I am in the media, what is out there. I accept it. I'm very accepting of it. At the same time, I know who I am. I'm Johnny Manziel from Kerrville, Texas. I don't let that get to me so much or let all that weigh me down or ever make me lose sleep at night.
"The main thing in my life right now is football and trying to be as good a quarterback as possible. Everything else is just extra, and really, there's no time for it right now. I'm very committed to expanding my knowledge of the game and getting better as a quarterback. That's my focus right now."
Manziel said he doesn't think about being a celebrity in the public eye "a whole lot," and that he reportedly enjoys spending time with other successful people, including LeBron James of the NBA's Miami Heat, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and hip-hop music star Drake.
"I don't look at it as celebrity or star or anything like that," Manziel said. "I look at it as I have guys that really care about me and are guys who happen to be in a bigger spotlight. I know I love being involved in sports, so guys like Kyrie, LeBron, they're great athletes, and I love watching basketball. I think any guy in our position loves listening to music, and Drake's a guy that makes really good music. I think it's extremely cool, and I'm very glad to have them in my corner.
"Those guys have been awesome to me. They're people that I've reached out too, and they've reached out to me and we've developed friendships over the past year-and-a-half. Guys have treated me really well."
Manziel said he is "used to that" kind of attention that comes with winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M, and leading the Aggies to several victories, including one over the vaunted University of Alabama on the road in Tuscaloosa.
"That's been my life for a long time now," Manziel said. "For me, the spotlight, expectations, everything that comes along with that, I was used to that at A&M, and I think that directly helps me with what I'm getting into moving forward. The way the league is and how big of a deal it is, it's bigger than I'm sure I know. I'll find out, but I think I've been prepared by the past that'll help me moving forward.
"I've learned a lot through just living my life month-by-month, day-by-day, just different lessons and circumstances that have gone on and just growing up. I'm 21 years old and am continuing to grow up. I feel that with this organization and the people that I have around me right now, I'm very excited about what the future has in store."
While Manziel is excited about what the future holds for him and the Browns, he knows that hard work has to come before all else.
"Coming here, there's a gap that I have to close of learning the offense and getting caught up to speed of guys who have an advantage of playing," Manziel said. "I need to put in an immense amount of time, and I truly believe that.
"I play with a lot of a heart, a lot of passion. This game means everything to me, and it doesn't matter what the situation is. I want what's best for this team and I want to win. That's the main thing for me. I want to continue to try and be a winner. I just don't handle losing very well.
"The way that I was taught to play the game from high school, the first time I ever touched a football, you play the game hard. You play with passion and you bust your tail every day to try and get better. I'm really thankful to my coaches back in Kerrville, back in high school, that really helped instill that in me."