Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin spoke Monday about his former quarterback Johnny Manziel on The Audible with Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, noting that the Heisman Trophy winner needs to change his lifestyle if he wants to remain in the NFL.
Dan Carson of Fox Sports passed along an excerpt from Sumlin during that interview:
Pro football is a job. I know form [sic] his competitive nature he loves the game. Wthout [sic] a doubt, there's a lot of things going on in his life that if he's serious about playing professional football he's gotta change. Whatever that perception is has become reality for him, and he's gotta look that in the eye and say, 'Alright, here's a situation. Here's what people think... What are the issues right now?' He's gotta address those.
Sumlin continued (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk):
He’s a great competitor, and when he was here he loved the game of football, he loved to practice, he loved to play the game. That’s got to translate in his actions in the clubhouse or with his team. The perception that he doesn’t care, he’s got to deal with that, and the only way to deal with that is to show up and work at it every day.
Manziel, 23, was cut earlier in March by the Cleveland Browns after being the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. In two seasons, he registered 1,675 passing yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions, completed just 57 percent of his passes and rushed for 259 yards and a score in 14 games.
His on-field struggles were compounded by various off-field concerns. Despite checking into rehab last offseason, Manziel was seen several times drinking in clubs during and after the 2015 season and lost his starting position temporarily in November 2015 after he was caught partying during the Browns' bye week.
He was also accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, in a case that was turned over to a grand jury in February.
Sumlin has long been a proponent of Manziel's, but he's obviously correct in his summation of the quarterback. Manziel had plenty to prove on the field; the fact he can’t stay out of the headlines off the field could make NFL teams unlikely to align themselves with him in the future.
If Manziel doesn't change his lifestyle, it's unlikely any NFL team will take a chance on him after the headaches he caused Cleveland in his two seasons there.
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