Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is scheduled to appear at SEC Media Days this week. Being the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and current face of the program are reasons enough for Manziel to make the trip to Hoover, but appearing in front of reporters would also give the redshirt sophomore an opportunity to smooth over what’s been a somewhat turbulent, albeit a bit overblown, offseason. In fact, keeping Manziel away from the cameras would only raise more questions about his ability to handle the spotlight.
Besides, being media savvy has never been Manziel’s problem. Staying out of the headlines in the current 24/7 news cycle has been a different story.
Thanks to that inability, Manziel will need to work that charisma again this week.
Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Manziel left the 2013 Manning Passing Academy early after missing assigned meetings and practices due to an illness. Manziel was working as a counselor for the camp, which is now in its 18th year.
An earlier report from Rumors and Rants said that Manziel was booted from the camp after he went out partying Friday night and arrived late and hungover to the camp Saturday. Camp officials have denied that report.
“Johnny Manziel did participate in some activities in the 2013 Manning Passing Academy as a college counselor/coach,” a statement from the camp said. “After missing and being late for practice assignments, Johnny explained that he had been feeling ill. Consequently, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest for him to go home a day early.”
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning also released his own statement.
“I can remember a 20-year-old Eli (Manning) missing a meeting and catching some flak. We always have counselors who leave early. Johnny was great with the campers for the time he was here. He had to leave early. I wish him the best and I want him to come back as a counselor next year,” Manning said.
For what it’s worth, Mark Passwaters of Rivals.com reports “on good authority” that Manziel was not drunk and kicked out of camp.
Manziel nor Texas A&M have commented on the situation, and it’s doubtful Manziel will deviate much from the Mortensen report when he is undoubtedly asked about the Manning Academy this week.
Updated 5:00 p.m. ET: In a text message to Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Manziel’s father said his son is at home “resting and recuperating from dehydration,” but would not elaborate on the Manning Academy story. Additionally, Texas A&M confirmed Manziel will still be present for SEC Media Days this week.