Johnny Manziel elected to wear a helmet and shoulder pads in his pro day workout at Texas A&M Thursday.


Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has always done things a little bit differently than normal college football players, and that applied to his pro day workout in front of 30 NFL coaches and decision-makers Thursday.

While most players conduct their drills in t-shirts, shorts and without pads, Manziel made the decision to wear his helmet and shoulder pads while throwing 65 passes so scouts and coaches could get a more accurate reading of his skills.

"You play the game in football pads," Manziel said. "You play the game in shoulder pads on Sundays. Why not come out here and do it? I never really understood why that was a trend, but for me, it was a no-brainer.

"When Coach (George) Whitfield and I talked about it, (it was), 'Come out and treat this as a business day, treat this as a game day.' I know each and every one of the guys out here catching balls for me did."

According to Chicago Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer, who has spent the last 10 weeks working with Manziel on his footwork and driving the ball downfield, the aspiring NFL signal-caller made the final decision to throw in pads.

"It never even crossed my mind and he said, 'Let's add something to this. We're going to be inside. We're going to be at my school, my comfort zone, so let's just add a little to it,'" Palmer said. "I think it's a nice, little touch. It shows that's how he's going to throw it on a team next year. I think it was a smart thing, if you can do it. I had a pro day seven years ago, and I don't know if I would've worn shoulder pads and a helmet. It was impressive, and I'm happy for him.

"I thought he did really well. That's a heck of a workout to put together wearing pads and a helmet. That's about as many throws as you're going to do in a training camp practice. All the variety, we mixed in a little scheme with it, but with the footwork that a lot of these coaches wanted to see, he did a really good job with it today."

Manziel making the decision to work out in pads and a helmet came as no surprise to some NFL coaches.

"Johnny does things a little differently," Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said. "You play in pads, so I thought that was a good twist. That's how you play football. I know you're not going to have the bodies around you, but it's a little bit harder throwing in pads.

"It was what we expected. Johnny has great video. His college career tells you what kind of football player he is, but it's a little different stage. It's not often you have to perform with a former president (George H.W. Bush) with a ring-side seat, but he seems to step up every time there's a big crowd, and he can do everything you ask a quarterback to do."

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