The NFLPA Rookie Premiere is a time for the incoming players to learn how to be a professional in the business of football. DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director and the NFLPA set up a series of workshops and programs to help the players adjust to their new found status as NFL players. They selected 30 players to come to this event. Some couldn’t attend due to Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Others such as Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers were able to get approval to miss OTAs to attend this event.
One of the more notable players that was absent was Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel is a player that would really benefit from the Rookie Premiere. Due to his rock star status, every move that he makes is highly scrutinized and often met with criticism. Given that, Manziel has to be extra careful what he does in the public spotlight.
Pro Player Insiders had the chance to talk to DeMaurice Smith at Rookie Premiere. Smith talked about the purpose of the event and offered his take on Johnny Manziel’s absence.
“This is an opportunity that we negotiated for [players] to learn how to maximize, not only their brand, but their role in the business of football. The core part of it is [that] we teach not so much how to care about your marketable commodity as a brand, but issues such as personal responsibility. What we expect from you as a member of this union. What players have come before you and fought for you. I don’t have a specific comment or care about whether [Manziel] is here or not, but those are the lessons that we try to instill in the guys that are here and we hope that they learn them.”
Smith was also asked about how missing Rookie Premiere may affect the way that people may view Manziel, especially after committing to be there.
“I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t try to predict how other people are going to perceive anything but we believe that this is an important event in the growth and the maturity of the players that are here. I believe that the players that come through Rookie Premiere, for example Marshall Faulk, is here, came here as a rookie. He is here now and those are the types of lessons that you can marry history to the present and know that we are not only doing something that is important, we are doing something that is impactful on the lives of the players that are here.”
Recently, Manziel was seen in Las Vegas days before the Browns began their OTAs. It caused an uproar in the media and elsewhere because of his star power. This is one of the reasons why a player like Manziel needs to take advantage of every opportunity to get insight on how to handle the status and responsibility of playing in the NFL.
Manziel did take some reps with the first team on Wednesday which was planned to keep the starter, Brian Hoyer from incidental contact. Manziel reportedly made a throw that wowed the coaching staff. They bootlegged him to the right and he launched a nice backside throw to Jordan Cameron in the left side of the end zone.
Kyle Shanahan chimed in with his take on the Manziel craze and his Vegas trip at camp on Wednesday. “I think if this was six-years ago, and there wasn’t so much Twitter and pictures, people don’t even notice. And a lot of straight-arrow, good quarterbacks [went to Vegas] and you guys didn’t know about it. It doesn’t bother me. Johnny has been working as hard as anyone I’ve been around.”
Maybe there is a good reason to explain Manziel’s absence. “Johnny Football” is expected to be at Rookie Premiere Friday morning.
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