HOOVER, Ala. -- Johnny Manziel showed up early.
He was scheduled to do an 8:15 a.m. interview on ESPN Sportscenter, which was to kick off a three-hour journey into the jungle otherwise known as SEC Media Days.
Dressed sharply in a navy blue suit and arriving nine minutes early, Manziel was flanked by the Texas A&M athletic department staff. He got to the corner of the set and waited as a throng of more than 50 media members holding video cameras and cellphones began to scurry over. Lead host Joe Tessitore looked over to the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and asked, jokingly, "Anything going on this morning?"
Manziel looked at ease. He smiled and said, "Not a thing. Just another day."
On the television set, with Manziel in earshot, longtime SEC talking head Paul Finebaum declared, "This [Manziel's appearance] is the biggest moment in the history of SEC Media Days."
Manziel walked onto the set, shook Finebaum and Tessitore's hand, put on his microphone and took a seat.
The lights then came on, the cameras began rolling and Manziel addressed his mysterious early departure from the prestigious Manning Passing Academy.
Manziel said he "overslept" and that rumors of him being hungover were "absolutely untrue."
As he spoke, College Football Live analysts David Pollack and Brock Huard shared a microphone, eagerly listening to the interview, hanging on the 20-year-old's every word.
Manziel said that the attention makes him "feel like Justin Bieber."
And as he finished his interview on the ESPN set, Manziel entered into another round of questions with more than 100 media members. Only five of the questions had anything to do with football.
"The spotlight is 10 times brighter and 10 times hotter than I thought it was two months ago," Manziel said.
He then walked over to another television room and was, again, peppered on the same subjects for 10 minutes before being whisked away for individual interviews for national television.
As Manziel and his contingent walked by the ESPNU set in the foyer of the hotel, ESPN producer Mike Moore sat down and his chair snapped beneath him. With laughter all around him, Manziel mustered a small chuckle and continued on into another banquet room.
Finally, at around 9:15 a.m., Manziel appeared in the main media room. Almost 200 people crowded around a six-by-three-foot stage. Manziel sat down, adjusted his suit and began to talk.
"Were you asked to leave the Manning Camp?" asked one reporter.
"I was not asked to leave. It was a mutual decision," Manziel said.
"Can you address speculation you were out the night before?" asked another.
"The speculation of me being too hungover or whatever it was to show up for meetings the next day was absolutely incorrect," Manziel said.
"Will your off-field actions affect your football?" asked another.
"Absolutely not. Football is football," Manziel said.
"Were you nervous about coming today?"
"Not at all," Manziel said.
The questions came at him for more than 30 minutes. Manziel navigated each with a veteran's poise.
Across the room, All-American offensive tackle Jake Matthews sat at his stage with 1/15th the amount of media. Toney Hurd Jr. drew a crowd of about 10 people.
Both players were repeatedly asked about Manziel, about whether the attention on Manziel would affect the 2013 season and whether it bothered them.
"You guys [the media] need to pay attention to me," Matthews joked.
He added that he "has all the faith in the world in Johnny."
Hurd said the team "embraces everything that comes with Johnny Football."
"If you want to stop [Manziel], you might want to put 22 people on the field," he said.
For the next hour and a half, Manziel would go into one room, answer the same questions for 10 minutes, exit the room and enter another. Rinse and repeat.
The answers began to blend together, the quotes, mirror images from one room to the next. Every once in a while, Manziel would be asked something new, about golf or some other hobby. He'd almost smile while being asked, if only because it was a change of pace.
He talked about how he hit driver, 3-wood, pitching wedge on the par-5 18th at Pebble Beach and made birdie.
The final question of his long morning came in the Radio/Internet room at 11:24 a.m. It was about a duck-hunting trip he took with his father in Arkansas.
He said he shot a good haul but mostly enjoyed spending quality time with his dad.
At 11:26 a.m., after three hours and 11 minutes, "the biggest moment in the history of SEC Media Days" came to an end.
Manziel exited the hotel to board a plane and fly to Los Angeles to attend the ESPYs with Kevin Sumlin, his final grand excursion before the team reports for fall camp on Aug. 4.
"I'm ready to stop," he said as a parting gift to Aggies everywhere. "No more talk after this. Let's play football."