Updated: March 31, 2014, 9:06 PM ET
ESPN.com News Services
The spectacle surrounding Johnny Manziel’s pro day last week and the celebrity status of the former Texas A&M quarterback seem to concern Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who said “flags” popped up when the team met with Manziel for a private workout.
Manziel’s pro day on Thursday included the presence of former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara — and her two dogs, music from hip hop artist Drake being blasted through the building and the flashy quarterback wearing camouflage shorts, a black Nike jersey with his white No. 2 as well as a helmet and shoulder pads. Zimmer told the Houston Chronicle it was a “sideshow.”
The Vikings, who met with Manziel on Friday, own the No. 8 pick and are expected by many to draft a quarterback.
“We asked him all kinds of questions. … There are some flags that come up,” Zimmer said Monday on 104.9 The Horn in Austin, Texas, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “All of the things that happened out in Los Angeles, the commercials and all that stuff … the position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right. That’s the thing you want to know about him — will he be into work early every single day? Will he be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?
“There is a change [from college to the NFL], otherwise all of these other quarterbacks that have come up through the years would have made it, from the college game to the NFL game as far as the speed of the defense and some of the complexities of the different defenses. So that position has got to be a position that really eats, breathes and sleeps football where he is going to take it upon his shoulders to win. At least the Peyton Mannings, Drew Breeses of the world have done that and really all we have to go on in the NFL is past history.”
Manziel was suspended for the first half of last season’s opener after the NCAA investigated him for allegedly signing autographs for a memorabilia dealer. But Manziel tried to distance himself from his “Johnny Football” persona earlier this year while working out in California. Did the pro day performance rekindle that identity?
“I guess the thing you have to figure out is, is this just another part of the things that happened a couple of years ago after he won the Heisman Trophy or is he just a different person as far as wanting the limelight or just wanting to prove that he can do things the right way,” Zimmer said on 104.9 The Horn. “I guess it maybe brings a few question marks in. Is he going to conform to typically what the NFL is or what everyone else has done before him including what the great players in the game have done before him, or is he going to try to be the celebrity man guy that he was maybe a year-and-a-half ago?”