COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Four years ago, today, Johnny Manziel entered the McFerrin Athletic Center on the Texas A & M campus, surrounded by pomp and circumstance.
With Drake out the speakers, Manziel came to his pro-day dressed in a black jersey, camouflage shorts, shoulder pads and a helmet. It was unparalleled for a pro-day, and crowded crowd, senior representatives of 30 NFL teams and President George H.W. contained. Bush and his wife Barbara were there as witnesses. How was a captive national television audience?
"It was epic," recalled Tampa Bay Buccaneer's wide receiver Mike Evans, a former A & M team-mate from Manziel, who received several completions of quarterback that day in 201
Evans was present at Texas A & M's Pro on Tuesday, in the same hall, but Manziel went into training under very different circumstances. He was no longer the star who showed a show and tried to impress team GMs, coaches and scouts. Instead, he was one of two quarterbacks who mingled like a chameleon to the receivers, in a black hoodie and shorts like any other player on the field.
Manziel split reps with Texas A & M QB trainer Luis Perez, the 2017 Harlon Hill Division II Player of the Year, and threw about 35 passes in a training supervised by New Orleans Sants senior offensive / wide receiver trainer Curtis Johnson.
"I thought he looked better today than toss the ball," said an experienced NFC scout who was in Manziel's professional day in 2014 and his training on Tuesday. "Better speed, pretty good accuracy."
"The ball came out fast," noted another scout who returned four years ago and on Tuesday. "And he looked relaxed."
Today Manziel is much more relaxed . He has not played football since a concussion in week 16 of the 2015 season, and was then released by the Cleveland Browns in the off-season, which made him the 22nd overall colleague of the 2014 draft.
It was all downhill for Manziel since that pro day four years ago, but things have been looking up lately. He recently got married, was diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder, reconciled with family members and participated in two pro-days last week. He also looks good, unlike the lost soul that has appeared on TMZ regularly in recent years.
"I'm sitting back today and have a lot of regrets in my life," Manziel told NFL.com the Aggressive Prostag on Tuesday. "I lost myself in a lifestyle, was caught in the wrong things.
" I look back today, and the people who gave me advice, whether that was (businessman) Maverick Carter or LeBron (James), or anyone I crossed with other quarterbacks in the NFL was in one ear and the other. I could not really feel or understand it. And when I sit down here, especially a few months ago, when I was downstairs, and I think about my life, I can now hear and understand what these people were trying to tell me. I am 25 years old and have a lot of life experience. I do not want to make the same mistake twice, and I try to learn from what I've done wrong in the past. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art…7805 & lang = DE His presentation on Tuesday and last week in the rain at the University of San Diego. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art…7805 & lang = DE It 's just a small step towards the what he calls the ultimate goal – getting a second chance with a team in the NFL: teams are not just breaking his door, even though he says he is signing a contract that demands no Englisch: www.germnews.com/archive/en/news/archiv_2006.html. dn / 1995/02 / 30.html Last week, USD had only 13 teams to send a scout to monitor its progress, and 31 teams were represented on Tuesday (only the Bengals could not send anyone) No Front Office Managers or Head Coaches With the exception of the Saints and Cowboys, no team even sent a position coach.
None of this seems to bother Manziel, who says his focus at College Station is on the broad receiver Christian Kirk and Kirk's former Tea In fact, Manziel's presence was secured just 10 days ago when Kirk was in Los Angeles training with Manziel's coach. The two met, and when Manziel found out that Kirk had no one to throw to him on his pro day, he volunteered. New Aggie's trainer Jimbo Fisher gave him his blessing and a script was hastily put together.
It seems that L.A.'s visitors have been only positive for Manziel lately. His father Paul came out at the end of January – the same father who said in summer 2016 that the best thing would be for his son's prison – and the healing began in what Johnny calls "my father and father's best week." "We have everyone Day Golf We went to dinner together, "said Manziel. "When he wanted to go home, he started crying, that's the best I've ever seen, whatever you do, please keep it up." And for the first time in my entire life, I heard him say that he was proud of me and where I was in my life. It brought tears to my eyes.
Manziel said he also repaired ties to former Brown's teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins, as well as many other "people I've wronged."
The next step in his football comeback is The Spring League starting on Wednesday, then maybe the CFL if the NFL does not call, and he realizes that another misstep "is probably a wrap for me and my career in the NFL."
"He seems like he does in his right mind, "Evans said," Looks like he's been shooting his life for the better. He does the right things, matures a lot.
"Some teams think it's a high risk, but I think the reward is there, it's a phenomenal talent, it's bringing in fans and selling tickets, it can play flat-out. I would tell them the truth: Johnny Manziel is a damn good talent and should be a beginner in the NFL. "
" If something turns up, it pops up, "Manziel said." If not, and I do not get a chance to go back to I'll play in the CFL Everything will be fine One way or another, someday I'll just go back to where I want to be and I will not stop until I do. "
Follow Andy Fenelon on Twitter @Andy_Fenelon .