|ESPN.com: NFL Draft 2014||[Print without images]|
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has picked agents to represent his interests in the NFL once he declares his intention to enter the draft, which is widely anticipated.
Manziel told ESPN's Brett McMurphy on Monday that he remains undecided whether to return to school next season or declare for the NFL draft. Manziel said he wants to meet with his family before making a decision on his future.
Multiple sources tell ESPN's Darren Rovell that Manziel has chosen Select Sports Group out of Houston to be his contract agency and LRMR, the firm run by LeBron James' business partner Maverick Carter, to do his marketing. It is unclear whether he has signed a deal with either firm. Calls placed to SSG and Carter were not immediately returned.
Once Manziel signs with an agency, he would forfeit his NCAA eligibility.
Jason Cook, Texas A&M's senior associate athletic director for external affairs, told ESPN.com that Manziel, as of Tuesday evening, had not declared his intention to enter the NFL draft.
In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Todd McShay projects Manziel to be the fourth overall pick, and the third quarterback taken, behind Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and UCF's Blake Bortles.
In his two years as a starter with Texas A&M, Manziel threw for 7,820 yards and 63 touchdowns. He rushed for 2,169 yards with 30 touchdowns.
A source close to the negotiations over Manziel's representation told ESPN that Manziel had always admired James' off-the-court business empire. Manziel was seen sitting courtside with Carter for the Miami Heat's game against the Golden State Warriors last week.
Manziel said he befriended James when the Aggies star was being investigated by the NCAA this summer for signing autographs for memorabilia brokers. Manziel told "The Dan Patrick Show" last month that the two would text each other every day during that time.
"Everyone was coming after me, and there was so much criticism," Manziel said. "I feel like LeBron deals with that every single day of his life."
Unlike many other college players who have recently turned pro, Manziel already has a company set up for his marketing endeavors. The company, JMAN2 Enterprises, filed for the "Johnny Football" trademark last February seeking to use the phrase on everything from athletic apparel to motivational speaking.
His application is currently suspended as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reviews another application by a Texas A&M fan that was filed before Manziel's.
As a Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel's marketing future seems bright, though some of his ability to make off-the-field money will depend on which team chooses him.
The ultimate marketing coup for Manziel would be for the Houston Texans to draft him. They have the No. 1 pick but are said to be willing to trade down, to draft Manziel. One potential conflict: SSG agent Jeff Nalley represents current Texans quarterback Case Keenum.
As for LeBron? He's an ardent Dallas Cowboys fan.