Johnny Manziel leaves Manning passing camp with illness

July 15, 2013
Peyton Manning spoke with reporters Friday at the Manning Passing Academy. (Chris Heller / AP)
Peyton Manning spoke with reporters Friday at the Manning Passing Academy. (Chris Heller / AP)

Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Texas A&M, didn’t last long as a college coach/counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. He left the camp, held annually at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, because of illness.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a cohost along with his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, wasn’t bothered by the early departure and managed to get in a sweet little brotherly jab.

“I enjoyed meeting Johnny. I can remember a 20-year-old Eli missing a meeting and catching some flak,” he said, via ESPN. “We have a lot of counselors who leave early. Johnny was great with the campers for the time he was here. He had to leave early. I wish him the best and I want him to come back as a counselor next year.”

Just why he had to leave was a matter of some discussion. Rumors that he’d been sent home for, shall we say, excessive celebration were quashed by Manziel’s father. Paul Manziel texted the Dallas Morning News that his son was dehydrated and wasn’t football-ready for the camp, which began Thursday and ended Sunday in steamy Thibodaux, La.

“Johnny Manziel did participate in some activities in the 2013 Manning Passing Academy as a college counselor/coach,” the camp said in a statement. “After missing and being late for practice assignments, Johnny explained that he had been feeling ill. Consequently, we agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest for him to go home a day early.”

Manziel attended the camp, which draws around 1,200 kids, twice while he was in high school.

Peter King, on Monday Morning Quarterback, has some inside details:

Manziel was spotted at a bar in Thibodaux early Friday morning, and he was late for one of the Friday coaching sessions. No one’s sure where he was Friday night, but he was a no-show for a two-hour session Saturday morning, and the staff had to cover for him. (Imagine you’re a high school sophomore, you’re excited about coming to the Manning camp, and, as if that’s not enough, you walk in for orientation Thursday night and hear, “Johnny Football’s going to be your counselor.” You’re all jacked up, and then you show up Saturday for a two-hour workout with Manziel … and he’s nowhere to be found. Not good.)

Confronted by the staff early Saturday afternoon, Manziel said he wasn’t feeling well and had to miss the Saturday session. Even if that were true, the staff wasn’t pleased that Manziel never called and left the coaches short-handed. It was then that someone — Archie [Manning], by some reports — told Manziel it would be best for everyone if he went home.

On Monday, Manziel pleaded guilty to a 2012 charge of failing to identify himself to police and will pay a $2,000 fine and $232 in court costs, according to TheEagle.com. As part of a plea deal, another misdemeanor charge of possession of a fake driver’s license and a disorderly conduct charge would be dismissed, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to two days in jail, but had already served that.

“He took responsibility for his actions that night and is ready to put what happened that night behind him,” attorney Cam Reynolds said of Manziel.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | July 15, 2013