Johnny Manziel turns down Super Bowl trip to prepare for draft
Whether you are fine with Manziel's off-field behavior or despise him for it, you have to find a recent decision by the impetuous signal caller to be encouraging. Manziel's agent, Erik Burkhardt, said on Thursday that Manziel has turned down "several lucrative marketing offers" that would send him to New York for the week of the Super Bowl. Burkhardt claims that Manziel's "focus remains one hundred percent on football," as he is training in San Diego to prepare for the draft.
Everyone knows that Manziel will give you everything he's got on game day, but there have been questions as to how much effort he puts in between games, as well as how much of his focus is on football. The fact that Manziel is opting to train and prepare for the draft rather than spend a week in New York City for the Super Bowl is a great sign for those concerned with his off-field habits.
Imagine you are 21 years old, and someone approaches you about sending you to New York City for free while providing additional compensation. All you have to do in return is attend some events, and the rest of the time is sure to be filled with wild parties and good times. I don't know about you, but that would be pretty damn hard for me to turn down. Manziel, however, has decided to put football before that rare opportunity.
What will now be crucial for Manziel is convincing NFL executives that this is the new Johnny Football - a quarterback who makes the game his first and only priority. The NFL is loaded with players who step up their play during contract years, only to go back to their lazy, halfhearted ways when they sign a new deal. Manziel needs to convince NFL teams that his work ethic is permanent, and that he won't revert to his party animal type behavior once he signs his rookie deal.
If Manziel is truly set on focusing one hundred percent on football, the sky is the limit for the youngster. I was surprised by his inconsistency with accuracy and reads when watching his tape, but the highlights of the tape are jaw-dropping. If he can work hard to get more comfortable in the pocket under pressure, while also studying tape to make strong reads on a regular basis, this kid could be a nightmare for 31 NFL teams.
Regardless of whether or not football remain Manziel's only priority in the long term, it is encouraging to see him turn down a trip to New York for the Super Bowl. It not only shows that he is focused on football, but also that he is maturing and understands what is most important.
It would be a surprise to see Manziel drop out of the top 5 in this year's draft, and with the help of some strong interviews, he could be drafted first overall.