So long Johnny, we hardly knew ya, sort of


A s Johnny Manziel rides off into the NFL sunset ,we should all thank him for injecting some good old fashioned rah-rah into college football.

He may not have won the Heisman Trophy for a second time, but I think all will agree that he was the most exciting player in college football.

Did you see the Chick-Fil-A Bowl?

The Houston Texans would be insane to pass up on Manziel.

He brings with him a built in wow factor and free publicity that no amount of money can buy—win or lose.

Whether he can play at the professional level is anybody’s guess. Drafting these kids out of college is not an exact science and at best is a crap shoot (Tim Tebow).

While Manziel was darting and dashing around college football fields the past two seasons, he reminded me of the great Texas A&M quarterback Bucky Richardson.

Manziel was Richardson with talent and I mean that with no disrespect to Richardson.

Richardson Richardson I don’t know what Richardson’s 40 time was (probably not much better than mine) and I don’t know if he could throw a tight spiral 20 yards.

But there is one thing Bucky Richardson could do—beat your butt.

I was fortunate enough to be able to cover Texas A&M while Richardson was leading them and I loved Richardson. It was hard not to like the guy.

He was always honest, up front and always took responsibility for his actions. He never ducked the media or any question. He was always surrounded by reporters

Like Manziel, Richardson was a fan favorite because of his relentless, never-say-die attitude.

Richardson was embroiled in a quarterback battle with Tomball bomber Lance Pavlas, who could throw it a ton, but could not get the job done.

The Aggies had swiped the Baton Rouge native right out from under the noses of LSU.

On shear guts alone, Richardson finally won out. It was hard to keep him off the field.

In his debut as a freshman against Southern Mississippi, Richardson stepped off the bench in the fourth quarter and broke loose for an 82-yard touchdown run for the victory.

Southern Miss was led by some guy named Brett Favre.

Against BYU in the 1990 Holiday Bowl, Richardson compiled 402 yards of total offense (203 pass, 199 run). He rushed for two touchdowns, passed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.

Richardson was also an All-Southwest Conference pick his senior season in 1991, leading the Aggies with 1,492 passing yards.

He finished in 10th place in the Heisman Trophy voting that year—the last Aggie to receive votes for the award— before Manziel in 2012.

During his Texas A&M career, Richardson rushed for 2,095 yards, a conference record for QBs. He played in three bowl games with the Aggies and led them to two SWC Championships. He finished his Aggie career 24-6-1 as a starter.

After being drafted by the Houston Oilers, Richardson played in the NFL for four years and at several positions other than quarterback.

Richardson was present at the final Texas-Texas A&M game at Kyle and recieved a hero’s welcome, as he should.

A reporter asked Richardson what advice he’d give Manziel.

In typical Bucky fashion, he said, “He doesn’t need any counsel from me.”

While their lifestyles and personalities were very different, they both shared a common thread. They loved to play football and that became contagious—to all of us.

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2014-01-09 digital edition

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