NEW YORK (AP) — Once Johnny Manziel didn't go to his favorite team, LeBron James figured the destination was his old city.
And if Johnny Football needs someone to catch passes in Cleveland, how about King James? "Yeah, that's possible," James said Saturday with a smile. "Waiting for the ruling. That could be one of the problems and we'll see what happens with that."
James was an All-State receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, but he will be busy with his real job as an NBA superstar during football season. But he'll be paying close attention to what Manziel does with the Browns, not only as an Ohio native, but because Manziel has signed with LRMR and Maverick Carter, the longtime friend and associate of James, to handle some of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner's off-field projects.
James is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and as Manziel dropped toward the latter half of the first round Thursday, speculation heated up that the former Texas A&M star could wind up staying in the state. "We were watching the draft after our game and after I seen he didn't go to Dallas, I figured he would go to Cleveland at 22," James said. "I mean, it's exciting. I mean, he's going to get an opportunity to compete for the starting job, so it's exciting for us, for our family, for him and his family."
James already has a Manziel Browns jersey, though insists that's not because he knew something in advance. "I got a good connection at Nike and they take care of me," he said. James has spoken to Manziel a couple of times since the draft, and members of the agency were with the quarterback when he held his news conference on Friday. James said Manziel didn't ask him about Cleveland.
"A lot of teams passed up on him, but whatever team picked him, he was ready to make an impact and I think he can be really good," James said before his Miami Heat played Brooklyn in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Of course, it comes with the pressure of trying to revive not only a sports-crazed city that still struggles with James' departure in 2010, but a Browns franchise that has struggled to find its footing since returning to the NFL.
"I mean, he's been in pressure situations for a long time and it shouldn't change now just because he's starting his NFL campaign," James said. "Johnny's a great football player, he's a smart kid and he relishes the opportunity to hopefully bring some great moments back to Cleveland as far as the football team. So I think it's a great opportunity for him and I think he looks forward to the challenge."