COLUMBIA - The two quarterbacks shared a conference, but Connor Shaw didn't know what to expect before meeting new Cleveland Browns teammate Johnny Manziel last month.
Listen to the national narrative, and it paints a skeptical image. The criticism and intense scrutiny followed Johnny Football at Texas A&M. Everywhere he went, Manziel seemed to make news.
Shaw knows outside perceptions can be fuzzy. With Manziel, the former South Carolina quarterback has learned first-hand this summer.
"He's actually a good guy," Shaw said of Manziel, the former Texas A&M quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012. "The media and all that make him out to be some terrible person, but he's actually a really cool guy to be with. We've kind of developed a good relationship, so we're pushing each other right now."
It's Shaw who is chasing Manziel, the Browns' first-round pick and apparent future of the franchise. Whether it's opening day or later in the season, everyone expects Manziel to be Cleveland's starting quarterback this fall. It's only a matter of time.
For Shaw, the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history, it's a different reality than he's used to living. That won't stop him from taking advantage of whatever bragging rights may be on the horizon.
South Carolina opens its season hosting Texas A&M on Aug. 28. When Shaw's old team faces Manziel's old team, the new teammates will be watching.
"I'm going to wait until the right time to bring it up," Shaw said. "I'm definitely going to have to put a friendly wager on that game, for sure. Of course I'm taking my Gamecocks. I'll put a 10-point swing on it."
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