Johnny Manziel is working hard to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft (USA Today Sports)
It came as no surprise when Johnny Manziel decided it was time to pursue an NFL career after his redshirt sophomore season at Texas A&M. To prepare for the upcoming A&M pro day and the NFL Combine, Manziel has been training George Whitfield Jr., a widely respected “quarterback guru.”
Johnny Manziel is a Texas boy, born and raised, and sure enough, the Houston Texans have the first overall pick in May’s draft. There is no consensus among draft experts as to who should be the Texans’ selection. Manziel wants to be that guy.
The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain was on the scene in San Diego and wrote an awesome feature about one of Manziel's many nine-hour training days with Whitfield. Manziel looks “like he’s training for the Navy SEALS (more) than the NFL draft,” McClain wrote.
Manziel’s training sessions include the quarterback delivering passes while standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean with waves knocking into him. He also throws to various receivers while wearing a blindfold and another drill features one of Whitfield’s assistants poking him with a broom or throwing bean bags at him. Whitfield said Manziel “has never worked harder.”
On top of that, the Heisman winner who has made headlines for his off-the-field activity as much as his on-the-field prowess wants to make sure the Texans have no doubts about who he is. Or as McClain writes: “Johnny Manziel wants to distance himself from Johnny Football.”
"I want them to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I'm who they want," Manziel said. "I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to (owner) Bob McNair to say, 'This kid is 100 percent, can't miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.'"
“I was a kid who made some goofball decisions. That’s been part of my journey. Maybe it’s part of the whole Johnny Football deal that I’m trying to get away from. I’m trying to show people I’ve grown up, and I’ve learned from my experiences. I feel like you’re a stupid person if you continue to make the same wrong decisions. I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh, anybody in his situation would have been doing the same thing.’ I’m 100 percent responsible for my actions.”
If Manziel, a native of Tyler, Texas, were to drop in the draft to, for example, the Jacksonville Jaguars—a division rival of the Texans – Manziel says “it would be the worst decision (the Texans) ever made.”
“I’d be in the same division playing against them twice a year. Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito into a Dorito,” Manziel said.
Whitfield said Manziel will measure in at 6-foot and 210 pounds at the combine and after seeing the 5-foot-10 Russell Wilson win the Super Bowl, Manziel thinks he can do the same.
“I want to be the first rookie to win the Super Bowl,” he said.
With the combine coming next week in Indianapolis, Manziel is looking forward to the chance to prove he is a high-character guy when interviewing with teams, including new Texans coach Bill O’Brien.
"In Indianapolis," Manziel says, "I want to be able to sit there and him draw a play on the board and be like, 'Coach, that was your third-and-12 play from the Super Bowl. You called that on the right hash from the 42-yard line driving in to score to win the game.'
"I want to blow his lid off when I'm in that situation."
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