Strong enough that son Stephen Jones, the Cowboys' vice president, had to take the draft card with Manziel's name writted out of it out of his cold hands. That's according to author Jim Dent in his new book, "Manziel Mania," an excerpt of which was printed in the Dallas Morning-News:
"Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones had snatched the Manziel card straight out of his dad's hand. Otherwise, Jerry would have drafted him and JFF would have sat for at least three years behind Tony Romo."
Dent, who covered the Cowboys for more than a decade and even wrote a book about Jerry Jones, explains exactly what he was told went down on that fateful Draft Day.
“I could just see Jones grabbing Manziel with the 16th choice of the first round,” Dent writes. “I wrote a book about Jerry Jones in 1995 titled ‘King of the Cowboys.’ I know the Boss Hog. I knew that Jones’ hands were shaking when the Cowboys went on the clock with Manziel still on the board. I could envision Jones scribbling the name of Johnny Manziel on the draft card. Indeed, all of these things happened.
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Jerry Jones has openly admitted his fascination with Manziel, and he admitted before training camp just how close a call it was, essentially corroborating Dent's take on the matter.
“I want you to know that almost as I was handing in the card, it was that close to putting that Manziel card in. It was that close," Jones told NFL Network in July.
Instead, Jones — one of the Joneses, anyway — picked Zach Martin, who is projected to start at guard and has looked very good in training camp and preseason.
But no matter how Martin plays, this stands as one of those stories we'll constantly revisit as the career arc of Manziel takes shape and Romo plays out the next few years of his career, which has been brilliant at times but beset by injuries and the most untimely of mistakes at others.
Whether is was Jerry's lack of grip strength or Stephen's increasing role in making decisions with the Cowboys, there's no going back on this draft decision. But we feel pretty solid on one thing: If Manziel struggled and ever is set loose from the Browns, he'll likely have at least one team interested in his services.
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