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Thursday, March 17, 2011
EJ Manuel finds mentor in Charlie Ward

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel has been schooled on the career of former quarterback Charlie Ward. When he was 9 years old, Manuel watched Ward’s games on ESPN Classic.

Now, the two of them have connected with the help of another former FSU star, Terrell Buckley, who passed Manuel’s number on to the former Heisman Trophy winner. Manuel got a chance to meet Ward and his son at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. They got their picture taken together, and Manuel said Ward told him he was proud of him.

“We have a very good relationship, a good friendship,” Manuel said. “He’s been a very good mentor for me. … He didn’t have a problem calling me. He wasn’t too big to talk to me, or too busy to talk to me. He’s always been there for me whenever I needed to call. He’ll text me just to see how I’m doing -- not even about football. He’ll ask me how I’m doing in my spiritual life, things like that. I really appreciate somebody like that.

“He’s a legend,” Manuel said. “He’s a legend, so it means a lot to me.”