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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bucs won't draft based on appeal

By Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- The rumors of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' interest in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel continue to swirl. That has led to some speculation that the Bucs might have an ulterior motive.

Manziel
Manziel, nicknamed "Johnny Football", might be the player with the highest profile in this year’s draft. He’s an attention-getter on and off the field. For a team like the Bucs, who sometimes have trouble selling tickets, drafting Manziel at No. 7 overall could be a bonanza.

But general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday that the Bucs won’t be making their draft decisions based on the marketability of any player.

"In terms of fan interest and selling tickets, we’re lucky that we work for the Glazers," Licht said. "They hired (Licht and coach Lovie Smith) to make what’s the best football decision. We would be basing the situation on whether or not he makes us a better football team."

Manziel’s off-field life has come under scrutiny at times, but it didn’t sound like the Bucs, who had the quarterback in for a pre-draft visit, have any major concerns about all that comes with Manziel -- if they believe he’s the best player available.

"He’s a Heisman Trophy winner," Licht said. "A lot of the situations he’s been in, really you can’t blame him for. If I were young and had a Heisman Trophy on my mantle, then I’d probably be in a lot more trouble than the next guy. I think we’re just going to make the best football decision, what’s best for our football team. I think Lovie and his staff can handle the rest of it."