HOOVER, Ala. — Headlines were generated over the past week when it was claimed that Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was sent home from the Manning Passing Academy after a night of partying. The camp said that he was sent home due to illness.
Manziel, in an appearance on ESPN on Wednesday morning and later in a separate room at SEC Media Days, clarified that he simply overslept.
There was nothing more than that, Manziel said. It was my fault. There was no excuse for my phone not being on.
Manziel said on ESPN that his phone died, so it naturally wouldnt ring his phone alarm, and thats what caused him to be late for a meeting. When he arrived, it was a mutual decision to leave the camp.
He did not discuss what (if anything) happened the night before, although he did say that there were social events every night of the camp. When asked if he was hung over, he said absolutely not.
South Carolinas Connor Shaw, who was also a counselor at the camp and has been asked to return next year, was mum about it.
Not entirely, Shaw said on Tuesday when asked if he knew what was wrong with Manziel. I know he was sick and couldnt attend some of the meetings and the practices and it was just better for him to leave.
Asked in another room about the rumors of Manziels after-hours activities, Shaw again paused.
(Let me) choose my words carefully here, Shaw said. Out partying, I dont think thats what you should say. He wasnt out drinking and partying the way people perceive it to be. I am not sure what happened through the night. I just know he wasnt there the next morning.
You have a great deal of responsibility and its a great honor to be there.
Ole Miss Bo Wallace, who also attended the camp, said that maybe it was being blown out of proportion. After all, Peyton Manning later said that it was no big deal.
I enjoyed meeting Johnny, Manning told ESPN.com. I can remember a 20-year-old Eli (Manning) missing a meeting and catching some flak. We always have counselors who leave early.
Manziel said that there were more rumors than what was actually true, and that he has talked with the Mannings and has been invited back to the camp next year, which he plans to do. As for his personal life and some of the social media that goes with that Manziel said that it wasnt really fair to be under such scrutiny, but thats what goes with the territory as a Heisman Trophy winner.
I dont feel like its fair, he said. I havent exactly handled it perfect.