Many NFL scouts and teams have concerns about Johnny Manziel’s size. But Nike showed they think he is just the right size this week, signing the former Heisman winner to a multimillion, multi-year contract that will make Manziel the face of Nike for the youth and pint-sized set.
“Johnny is a unique athlete because he has the talents, abilities and production of a star football player, but he does it in a child-sized body,” said Nike Kids CEO Jeff McGill. “He’s basically what little kids everywhere dream about when they’re playing sports.”
The company had originally planned to sign Manziel to a typical athlete endorsement deal and brought him to their Oregon headquarters last month for a meeting. But they quickly realized most of their products were way too big.
“He looked like a little kid dressing up like his dad,” said Nike CEO Mark Parker. “He couldn’t reach most of the stuff on the racks and the neck of a hooded sweatshirt fell down over his shoulders. We were all kind of bummed out because we realized it wasn’t going to work out with Nike and Johnny, but then it hit me … Nike kids!”
Manziel will now help sell Nike child-sized shoes and athletic wear, but also lifestyle wear such as pants and shirts. And it will all be done under the new Nike Kids tag line: “Just Play.”
“It’s a better fit than we ever cold have dreamed of,” said McGill. “We wanted to expand into casual clothing and Johnny makes that natural for us because, let’s be honest, much of what makes Johnny Manziel Johnny Manziel comes from things that happen off the field, out of uniform. And the ‘Just Play’ line speaks to kids, but it also says something about having fun with sports and life — just like Johnny does. It’s perfect.”
The former Texas A&M quarterback says he’s excited to join the Nike family.
“Nike has been great to work with,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of MILFs through this ad campaign.”
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