QB EJ Manuel, former Bills first-round pick, retires at 29

Yahoo Sports

Not that we don’t already know many players picked in last month’s draft won’t work out, but there was another reminder Monday when EJ Manuel retired.

Not long ago, Manuel was the Buffalo Bills’ hope at quarterback. He was the first quarterback taken in the 2013 draft, 16th overall out of Florida State. He led a game-winning drive his second career start to beat the Carolina Panthers with two seconds left. And it was mostly downhill after.

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He might have slipped totally out your consciousness by the time he retired Monday, at age 29.

EJ Manuel retires from Chiefs

Manuel was with the Kansas City Chiefs, behind Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne on the depth chart. ESPN’s Field Yates reported Manuel’s retirement.

He was on a one-year, $805,000 contract with the Chiefs. That’s a decent salary to pass up, though he could have gone through minicamps, training camp and preseason, been cut before the regular season and made nothing other than the offseason stipend.

The NFL can be a grind, despite the fame and good money involved. Manuel apparently didn’t want it anymore, at least as a player.

Manuel was benched early in Buffalo

Manuel faded fast in Buffalo. He was decent as a rookie, but started slow in 2014 and was benched after four games. There was a coaching change in 2015, and Rex Ryan chose Tyrod Taylor to start. Manuel started two games in 2015, one in 2016 and one more with the Oakland Raiders in 2017. He ends his career with a 77.1 passer rating.

Manuel was a good example of why high picks don’t work out. He was probably drafted too high, as the best quarterback in a weak class. He played right away, there was little patience for him, and then in came a new staff with nothing invested in Manuel. Then he became an afterthought as a backup.

Manuel walked away, pretty quietly. It’s a reminder how tough it is to thrive in the NFL, even as a high draft pick.

Former Bills quarterback EJ Manuel is retiring. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Former Bills quarterback EJ Manuel is retiring. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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