A&M: No deadline for Johnny Manziel
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Tuesday clarified some comments about quarterback Johnny Manziel's plans regarding the 2014 NFL draft and indicated there is no set date for the redshirt sophomore's decision on whether to turn pro after the season.
"I didn't say that he's going to make a decision before the [Aggies'] bowl game is played," Sumlin said to reporters Tuesday during his weekly news conference. "I never said that."
On Friday, a day before the Aggies played LSU, Sumlin appeared on ESPN Radio's "SVP & Russillo" and was asked whether he thought Manziel would return for his junior season.
Sumlin said, "I don't know. I'll be honest with you, we haven't had that conversation," in response and then elaborated on how the Aggies handle draft-eligible players.
"I met with all the seniors and all of our third-year players during the bye week and explained the process," Sumlin said. "Those guys who want an NFL evaluation -- it's not just him, it's Mike Evans, Malcome Kennedy, a number of guys in your program that will go through the evaluation process -- and just like last year I'll sit down with those guys and with [Manziel] and his family and have a discussion. My job is to get him all the facts that we can get him. ... We'll have that discussion after the Missouri game, certainly during bowl preparation and I'm sure an announcement will be made at that time."
On Tuesday, Sumlin repeated information about the process and said he'll ask the NFL for evaluations of any draft-eligible player on his roster who wants one.
"Everybody's different," Sumlin said Tuesday. "You've got time. The process is the same for all of our players that are in that boat, and we'll have an analysis by the NFL, I'll talk to some different people. What I like to do and what I try to do is I try to give our guys as much factual information, meaning information that I can gather from the NFL and from specific people instead of what's being said on television and on blogs or from agents or anything like that. That's my job as a coach: To give them the most accurate information that I can so that they can make the best decision for them and their family."
When asked prior to the Aggies' final home game of the season if he thought this year would be his last at A&M, Manziel said, "Not one bit. I'm just focusing on getting us to a BCS berth or the best bowl game we can get to. That's my only focus right now."
The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner hasn't made any other public comments about his future since Nov. 9. Many assume that he will enter the draft.
Manziel has thrown for 3,537 yards and 32 touchdowns and run for 665 yards and eight more scores for Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) this season. He became the first freshman to win the Heisman last year, setting numerous school and SEC records in leading the Aggies to an 11-2 overall record in their first season in the conference, a mark that included a road victory over No. 1 Alabama.
In recent weeks, Manziel has also dealt with a thumb injury, the extent of which is not known. Sumlin acknowledged it after the Aggies' 34-10 loss to LSU.
When asked Tuesday whether it was a source of concern or will be moving forward, Sumlin was vague.
"If it was [a concern], I wouldn't tell you," Sumlin said. "That's been going on for a while."
After Saturday's game, Manziel downplayed the role of the injury on his throwing hand.
"It's been a factor throughout the past couple weeks but that had nothing to do [with his struggles in the game]," Manziel said. "I felt like I came out and spun the ball pretty well. We just didn't get to pitch and catch like we wanted and complete passes."
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
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