Johnny Manziel takes refuge under table at card signings
Titans linebacker Avery Williamson, left, and Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel take a break during the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports)
Manziel and about 40 fellow rookies donned their full game day uniforms, from helmets to shoulder pads to cleats, for the first time Saturday on the final day of the NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere. Manziel was in his dark brown No. 2 jersey, the one he'll wear in home games for the Cleveland cheap?jerseys Browns.
Manziel, though, didn't seem entirely enthusiastic to be at the early morning marketing session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that included multiple promotional photo shoots and more marketing events, including signing more playing cards for Panini America and Topps.
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After the rookies posed for a group photo, players were divided into small groups Manziel's included fellow Browns rookies Terrance West and Connor Shaw. Manziel raced through his stack of autographs and slipped out of his chair to lay underneath the folding table on the cool grass, with only his arm extended from underneath the tablecloth.
Fellow rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd of the New York Jets grabbed a microphone to try to interview other players and quickly sought out Manziel. It meant bending down close enough so Manziel could hear him. Manziel used his left thumb to answer Boyd's questions serious inquiries into whether Manziel was having fun at the premiere (thumbs up) and how studying the Browns playbook was going (thumbs down).
It was the only non paid interview Manziel gave during the rookie premiere. Through his marketing representatives, Manziel declined all other interviews.
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"I think everybody has to decide how open they want to be, and when they want to be open. Johnny's team, if they feel like he's said enough at this point, we have to respect that, like with any other guy," said Keith Gordon, president of NFL Players Inc., the union's marketing and licensing arm.
Gordon said Manziel, who arrived in Los Angeles just before lunchtime Friday, fulfilled all of his required rookie premiere responsibilities, cheap?nfl?jerseys although he had to hurry to catch up with rookies who had arrived a day earlier.
That group included two of his new teammates, West and Shaw. New Browns running back Ben Tate, a veteran who signed with Cleveland in March, also attended Saturday's event upon invitation from the union.
Tate, who has gone through two weeks of organized team activities with Manziel, doesn't understand the fuss surrounding the quarterback given that when they are back in Cleveland, Manziel is behind Brian Hoyer (and sometimes Tyler Thigpen) on the quarterback depth chart.
"He had success early in his career when he was at (Texas) A he won the Heisman or whatever, but there are lots of people that have won the Heisman. I mean, Mark Ingram won the Heisman and I don't see everyone all excited when he got to the league," Tate said.
"Right now, I would say it's Brian's team. Until (Manziel) comes in and shows otherwise and can take that position from him. . The guy has been there, the guys know him, are comfortable with him."
But Manziel is a celebrity unlike few other rookies and former Heisman winners. With the rookie event in Los Angeles and the players staying in Hollywood, players such as Manziel have been trailed by paparazzi. Cameras from TMZ spotted Manziel partying Friday night on the Sunset Strip with rapper friend Drake.
"There are probably other guys in the league that are friends with LeBron (James) and Drake. (The media) just covers him so much," Tate said of Manziel.