Jerry Jones: Cowboys were ‘that close’ to drafting Manziel

The NFL world held its collective breath when the Dallas Cowboys were up to pick with the 16th overall selection in May’s NFL Draft and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was still on the board.

"America’s Team" could have been in the spotlight once again with Johnny Football — the draft’s most polarizing player — in Dallas. And apparently, it was very close to being reality, according to owner/GM Jerry Jones.

"I want you to know that almost as I was handing the card, it was that close to putting that Manziel card in. It was that close," Jones told NFL Network. "I look over to my son, Stephen … and I said, ‘I took the right pick. (Zack Martin) was the top player by three players on our board at the time that we were sitting there looking at him."

So what stopped Jones from turning in the Manziel card? Tony Romo.

"The question was, ‘Could we make it work with Tony Romo during the period of time that we are going to have Tony?,’" Jones said. "And by the way, my expectations are that Tony will be our quarterback for several years to come as we move along."

Jones admits Manziel is a special player, and he admits that he will think back on that night in the Cowboys’ draft room if the Browns’ new quarterback ends up being great for Cleveland.

"Manziel is special," Jones said. "I know him personally. I know that he is going to be a success in the National Football League, and it was a hard decision. And it is one that I will probably have for the rest of my career to think about."

Follow Shawn Ramsey on Twitter: @ShawnPRamsey