FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Winner, winner, steak dinner.
No one imagined that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel would slip out of the top 10 picks in the first round of Thursday night's NFL draft – except maybe an insightful Rich Cimini of ESPN New York. And because of that insight, Cimini will find himself the recipient of a steak dinner at the expense of ESPN broadcaster and former Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden.
Medium well with a baked potato dry, please.
In a media conference call in late April, Gruden was asked by the well-regarded Cimini his thoughts on the New York Jets' quarterback competition between Michael Vick and Geno Smith, who started all 16 games in his rookie season in 2014. Cimini added another question: If Manziel was available at No. 18, would the Jets would take him given their current situation at quarterback?
Gruden provided some analysis on the Jets situation and then quipped about Manziel to the Jets, “If Johnny Manziel is there at No. 18, I'll give you my cell phone number and I'll take you out to a steak dinner.”
A number of top teams linked to Manziel, including the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, passed on the former Heisman winner. Question marks about his size and ability to transition to the NFL caused him to plummet. The Cleveland Browns traded up to the 22nd pick and took Manziel, ending his long wait.
It was also good news for Cimini, who was spotted on Yelp last night looking up four-star steak houses in New York City. We kid, we kid.
"Once Jon recovers from the shock on Manziel falling, I'm sure he'll make good on his promise,” Cimini said. “My appetite will be waiting.”
Obviously, Gruden is a big fan of Manziel, repeatedly expressing his shock during Thursday night's telecast as Manziel fell to late in the first round. Now with a sirloin waiting for him and a dinner for two with Gruden, it is probably safe to assume that Cimini counts himself a fan of Manziel too. And Gruden said he's paying up.
“I said that on the call and I meant it," Gruden said. "I’ll let Rich pick the best steakhouse in New York City. Hopefully that’s good enough. If not, we’ll find an appropriate place to pay my debt. … We have two Jets games on our Monday Night Football schedule this fall, so Rich and I can hopefully get together then. He knows Mike (Tirico) well since they are both Syracuse guys, so maybe we’ll include him too. At least I can say to them that Dayton [Gruden’s alma mater] beat Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.”
- - - - - - -
Kristian R. Dyer writes for Metro New York and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer