Of all the three-way battles heading into training camp, this one might have been the hardest to predict — but easily the most amazing.
So TMZ caught up with actor Dean Cain, of Superman fame from the long-running "Lois & Clark" TV show, and naturally asked him about Johnny Manziel. In case you didn't know, Cain, 47, played a little ball back in the 1980s at Princeton and actually had quite the resumé. He played defensive back for the Tigers but had 17 other scholarship offers coming out of high school, and he was good enough in college to earn an invitation to the NFL combine.
[ Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football!]
Check out some of the highlights (including a fine red-zone pick around the 2:30 mark):
So now here's Cain — with TMZ apparently stalking him outside a Costco — as he packs up his truck with a few sundries: among them, a monster pack of Bounty, laundry detergent and a magenta balloon. He's asked about Manziel and the kid's Hollywood lifestyle, and Cain gives a stock response you might expect from a former jock:
"Listen, good for him, he's a great player, he won the Heisman as a freshman," Cain said. "Unbelievable guy. In the NFL, it's a whole different world. He's got the physical gifts, but he's not your typical NFL quarterback. So I hope he's happy, but there are a lot of athletes in the NFL. So I don't know. I don't know how he's going to do."
We've heard this narrative before. But that's when it turns and Cain goes out of his way to bring up another Hollywood quarterback.
"I do remember another quarterback back in the day coming out being a high draft choice, hanging out with the Hollywood starlets and stars and never really doing that well," Cain said. "I didn't say any names that wore No. 11 coming out of USC — Matt Leinart — but ..."
Cain suddenly is throwing a few verbal haymakers at a quarterback we really haven't talked about much since the Bills cut him after a cup of coffee last summer. But the way Cain steers the convo out this way of left field and goes after Leinart, you'd think he apparently stole one of Cain's ex-girlfriends along the way.
"I'm not saying Leinart can't get ladies," Cain said when the TMZ interviewer reminds him that Leinart is still living the good life despite a disappointing NFL career. "But he can't get a contract in the NFL now."
Well, Leinart was told of Cain's takedown, apparently, and fired back on Twitter.
Put 7 years in, pretty sure that's 7 more than 99% of the world. Some people should stick to their day job because they couldn't cut it!— Matt Leinart (@MattLeinartQB) July 23, 2014
Stick to being D list!— Matt Leinart (@MattLeinartQB) July 23, 2014
Suddenly, amazingly, Manziel has become the third wheel in this deal. How often does that happen?
Listen, Cain still looks damned good for 47, clearly has been working out and has led something of a charmed life — after all, did you go to high school with Charlie Sheen and Rob Lowe and date Brooke Shields in college? Nope, didn't think so.
Will Cain respond? After all, you don't tug on Superman's cape. So these two can have a bro-off any day they want, as far as we are concerned. This actually has infinite reality-TV potential, and we think some version of the Oklahoma Drill should be the battle-royale way to settle this.
Dean and Matt: Make it happen. Please. You know Manziel would be sitting front row for that action.
More NFL coverage on Yahoo Sports:
- - - - - - -