Aaron Rodgers: 'Big Manziel fan'

ByRob Demovsky via ESPN logo
Monday, June 16, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers likes Johnny Manziel -- both as a quarterback and in the way the Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback handles the spotlight.

Although Manziel would surely like to become the quarterback Rodgers has for the Green Bay Packers, in some ways Rodgers has become more like Manziel when it comes to handling the limelight that comes with being an NFL star.

Case in point: After Rodgers was photographed recently by Us Weekly magazine holding hands and kissing his new girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn, he said he was not bothered by what earlier in his career he would have described as an invasion of his privacy.

"I'm just going to live my life and enjoy my relationship and realize that comes with it," Rodgers said during an interview on Monday. "I still enjoy what little privacy I have left, and I'm going to hold on to that. But I'm not going to let that stuff bother me in ways that it used to."

In that regard, he said he admires how Manziel has handled all the attention that has come with being "Johnny Football."

"His talent speaks for itself, but you know what, I think he has kept the right attitude through all of this," Rodgers said. "He's a young guy doing what young guys do, and he's enjoying life. He's had some opportunities to do some pretty cool things -- sitting courtside at games and whatnot -- but he can't control the people taking pictures of him. He can't control the people wanting to be around him. He can control where he's at, and I'm sure he learned a little more about some of the reaction he's going to get when he does go to Vegas or whatnot.

"But he's on his off time. He's on a weekend in Vegas when he doesn't have to be at the facility. He should feel comfortable doing exactly what he wants to do, and I don't think he's done anything wrong."

It was not like this for Rodgers when entered the NFL in 2005, even though Rodgers and Manziel were selected at nearly the same spot in their respective drafts (Rodgers at No. 24 and Manziel at No. 22).

There were no cameras at Rodgers' pro day workout, no live television coverage of the combine. Other than the scouts who attended, there's probably only a few other people who could tell you that Rodgers completed 90 of 91 passes at his pro day at the University of California.

"There was no [Jon] Gruden quarterback camp to sit down and get picked apart," Rodgers said. "This group is so under the microscope, and it's way too much scrutiny for a person that age, but I'm a big Johnny Manziel fan. He's fun to watch. I watched him a lot in college.

"I think there's different ways of doing it. Johnny looks like he feels real comfortable living his life and dealing with what comes, and he should. He's a young guy doing young-guy stuff."

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