“I’ve made mistakes. But I haven’t done anything I feel is catastrophic,” said Manziel, adding that he takes full responsibility for what coach Kevin Sumlin described as “some poor decisions” by his quarterback during the off-season. Manziel acknowledged that critics will be quick to cite his off-season travels and transgressions, particularly his early departure from his counselor duties at the Manning Academy, if he experiences a drop in production in 2013.
That is why Manziel said he plans to be “150 percent” focused on football activities when the Aggies begin fall camp on Aug. 4. During today’s SEC media days in Hoover, Ala., Manziel said a busy summer of activities, including an appearance at Nike’s The Opening camp in Oregon the week before the Manning camp, helped wear him down and led to his missing meetings and feeling sluggish at the Manning Academy.
“I’ve just been on a hectic schedule and overslept,” Manziel said. “I overslept and missed a meeting … I was right there sleeping, with a dead phone next to me. I absolutely lived up to it (with camp officials). There was no excuse for not having my phone charged or having an alarm set.”
Manziel stressed that he did not oversleep because of heavy partying the night before.
“The speculation about me being hung over is absolutely incorrect,” said Manziel, adding that he left the Manning Academy by mutual consent with camp organizers and already has spoken to Peyton and Eli Manning about returning to work at next year’s camp.
Teammates and coach Kevin Sumlin expressed support for Manziel, although Sumlin stressed that his quarterback still has some maturing to do. And he hoped that dealing with difficult questions for most of two hours in today’s media session will help nudge Manziel in that direction.
“On the field, he has done an exceptional job,” Sumlin said. “Off the field, there’s no question he’s made some mistakes. I think today will be a great experience for him … He has done some things that he’s not very proud of. He’s made some poor decisions. He’s made some good decisions. Unfortunately, the poor decisions are the ones that are really publicized.”
_ Jimmy Burch