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Johnny Manziel shows ‘a little bit of Hollywood’ at strong pro day

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — It was part pro day, part spectacle. But it was 100% Johnny Football.

Johnny Manziel — former Texas AM quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, friend of LeBron James and former President George H.W. Bush and NFL hopeful — put on a pro day performance Thursday like few in the NFL had ever seen.

“I wanted to put on a good show for them,” Manziel said.

And what a show it was for representatives of 30 of the 32 NFL teams, including eight head coaches and eight general managers. Only the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears were not represented.

Those NFL talent evaluators who did come to College Station left with a greater understanding of the Manziel phenomenon. He is more than just a quarterback — Manziel is a celebrity.

“There’s a little bit of Hollywood to it. But the guy came out and he threw the ball well,” Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told USA TODAY Sports.

FTW: President Bush attends Manziel’s pro day

NIKE: Already showing off Manziel-wear

Manziel warmed up for his workout in private before strutting into the Aggies’ field house as rap music — the uncensored variety — blared from speakers. Manziel wore a matte black helmet, shoulder pads, a black No. 2 jersey and shorts in a camouflage print — part of a special line of Manziel gear being marketed and sold by Nike.

None of the NFL coaches or personnel executives on hand who spoke to USA TODAY Sports could remember seeing a prospect, let alone a quarterback, go through a pre-draft workout in football gear.

“You play the game in shoulder pads on Sundays, why not come out here and do it?” Manziel asked. “I’ve never understood why that was a trend. To me, it was a no-brainer when coach (George)] Whitfield and I talked about it. Come out here and treat this as a business day, treat this as a game day.”

Were this a game and not a scripted throwing session without a defender in sight, Manziel’s stat line would read 61-for-64 passing, including one drop, one pass caught just out of bounds and one throw that Manziel just missed.

“It’s a controlled environment, so you expect that he would be (accurate). But the way that the ball came out, and the way that he handled himself was impressive,” Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith said. “The leadership that he showed, the accuracy that he showed, all those things — it was a good day for him.”

PHOTOS: More from Manziel’s pro day


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