Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Manziel back in Aggieland for pro day
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- As Texas A&M began its ninth practice of spring football on Monday, Johnny Manziel briefly roamed the sideline before hitting the turf for a pre-workout stretch.
Earlier that morning, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback was in Kevin Sumlin's office, catching up with his former head coach.
And in the afternoon, prior to his workout, he made headlines across the Internet with this viral video of him displaying his athleticism with a multitude of dunks.
Yes, it was just like old times in Aggieland for Manziel.
The difference this time is, he wasn't suiting up for practice with the Aggies. Instead, he was utilizing the facilities where he launched his memorable college career to prepare for the latest "most important day" of his young career, his pro day workout in front of NFL personnel on Thursday.
Though he has spent most of his time since January in San Diego, working with private quarterback coach George Whitfield and Aggies teammate Mike Evans (who will also perform on Thursday), Manziel is finding respite in the place he spent the last three years.
"It was kind of startling to open the door and see him there," Sumlin said of seeing Manziel in his office first thing Monday morning. "Obviously, he feels at home."
Manziel and Sumlin caught up briefly and the quarterback inquired on the team's practice times so he could schedule his workouts with Whitfield and a host of familiar A&M teammates like Evans, Travis Labhart, Derel Walker and Ben Malena.
Sumlin made sure to mention Manziel's television commercial debut, a McDonald's spot featuring LeBron James.
"We just talked about pro day, we talked about a lot of things," Sumlin said. "I haven't seen him since the first week of spring football, before spring break. I congratulated him on his commercial (laughs). We just talked about a couple things and asked him how he was doing. He wanted to know what time we were practicing and whether we were indoors or outdoors because he was going to come in and throw a little bit beforehand and come out and watch practice. Just regular stuff."
On Thursday, both Manziel and Aggieland will be the center of attention as he throws for NFL personnel who will be on hand. Evans -- who like Manziel is projected to be a first-round pick -- will also get a chance to shine since he didn't work out in the Aggies' first pro day on March 5. The pair's aforementioned workout partners will also be a part of the pro day script and will have the opportunity to prove their worth to those on hand.
There will be plenty of eyes on Manziel in particular, including those of the Houston Texans, who hold the No. 1 pick in the draft.
"I'm happy for him now," Sumlin said. "This will be a big day for him. The exposure, the bright lights, the video, the brand -- that carries worldwide and that's a big deal for everybody concerned."