The Manning Passing Academy is an annual rite of passage for some of the top collegiate quarterbacks as they turn into camp counselors for high school passers. This year’s event marks the 18th year of the skills camp and the first one where one of the camp counselors was asked to leave.
It was reported by Rumors & Rants that Archie Manning asked Manziel to leave after missing Saturday’s ‘Air it Out’ competition. According to the report it was not the first event Manziel missed or was late for since the Thursday opening of the event. The anonymous source states Manziel was out late Friday, into Saturday afternoon, before returning to Nicholls State University camp.
The official statement from a Manning Camp official was that Manziel was ‘sick’ and returned home on Saturday. Later photos surfaced of Manziel ‘out on the town’ in College Station – not looking sick.
Manziel’s maturity and decision making have been a major source of contention this offseason. Manziel’s apparent love for the spotlight has spun out of control at this point – as the spotlight becomes much larger when you win the Heisman as a freshman.
Most of Manziel’s ‘indiscretions’ are minor but the culmination of all the events will almost certainly raise red-flags during his NFL evaluation process. The latest is almost certain to hurt Manziel in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators. While the official statement to the media was that Manziel was ‘sick’ you can bet the Manning’s won’t hold back when NFL personnel come seeking answers about the incident.
Clearly we won’t compare Manziel to Aaron Hernandez but the Hernandez incident is going to put all that much more focus on a player’s character before teams spend a draft pick on them. Manziel’s on the field body of work has been impressive but there are some serious questions about his mechanics that are sure to be highlighted during the pre-draft process (whether that be in 2014 or the future). If Manziel doesn’t show significant improvement as a passer this season, these off-the-field incidents will continue to be the focus.