COMMENTARY | A couple of hours after he came in a bit short at the NFL Combine, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel addressed the media.
Manziel was almost immediately asked about his measurements, and he shrugged off any notion that his size will be a problem come Sundays. "I play with a lot of heart, with a lot of passion," Manziel said. "I feel like I play like I'm ten-feet tall, so the measurements of me are just numbers."
Manziel, who earlier this week stated that he would be 6-0 at the combine, measured at 5-11 3/4 and 207 pounds. His hand size, 9 7/8 inches, is bigger than that of UCF quarterback Blake Bortles or of Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville.
The phenom known as Johnny Football talked about his off-the-field persona, one of a party guy who is maybe too "Hollywood" for his own good at this stage of his career. "Off the field, obviously, some scrutiny off the field, but I'm continuing to learn, continuing to learn from my mistakes, continuing to grow up," he stated. "I have the opportunity now, moving into a professional phase, this is life now. This is a job for me. I'm taking it very seriously, and I'm very excited about the future."
He also said that he is more "small-town kid" than Hollywood.
Manziel said that his main objective at the NFL Scouting Combine and in workouts over the next couple of months is to prove the he is a complete quarterback and not just an "improviser." He referenced how he, in his final college season, worked on improving as a pocket passer, and he spoke about how he has been working on that part of his game while training in San Diego.
Manziel reiterated comments he made last week in saying that he would love to go No. 1 overall and to the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft. "I think it'd be extremely cool (to be picked by Houston)," he said. "I'm a Texas guy, born and raised in Texas. I never really left to state, so (Houston) having the first pick means a lot to me."
One reporter brought up the subject of the Cleveland Browns drafting Manziel, an idea that first received significant national attention last September. "Any circumstances, any situations thrown my way, that's part of being a quarterback. You have to handle what's thrown your way, whether it's cold weather, rain...it's football. It's a man's game," Manziel said with a slight smile on his face.
Manziel referenced the Chick-fil-A Bowl versus Duke, during which he carried Texas A&M to a comeback victory, as proof of his ability to be a leader on the field and on the sideline. He talked about how he "leaves everything out on the field" every game, and Manziel even somewhat dared doubters to talk to his now former teammates about his motivational skills.
Manziel will not be throwing at the NFL Combine. He didn't shy away from the matter, telling the media that he would be willing to throw for teams in private workouts and at his personal workout day next month. Manziel said that his agent advised him against throwing at the combine.
It wasn't a game that featured pass rushers and defensive backs looking to stop him, but Manziel won his first NFL event. He was well-spoken, he was humble and yet he flashed confidence in his skill set, and he sounded like a leader and what you would want a quarterback and CEO of a NFL offense to sound like.
I was particularly impressed with Manziel remembering what was, to him, a meaningful play that occurred during a game against LSU. Manziel completed 16 of 41 attempts and he threw two interceptions in the losing effort on November 23, and he didn't make any excuses while explaining that he simply missed his wide receiver on that one throw. He called it an "uncharacteristic" day for him.
A quarterback, maybe more so than any other NFL player, must have a short memory as it pertains to his successes and to his failures. Manziel may have brushed off what was a disappointing day, but he, in speaking about that one play, sounded like a student of the game.
Nothing about Manziel's future NFL status will be determined today. He will have many more pressers, many more interviews, some public and some private, and teams will eventually see all they want about Manziel's arm strength and his accuracy. Manziel didn't say or do anything wrong on what is really Day 1 of his NFL career, which is more important than some would think.
Workouts are next.
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo! Sports since 2010
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Johnny Manziel