Talib Smokes pot Manningham fllin further
Character concerns drop Talib, Manningham from multiple draft boards
By Nolan Nawrocki
April 8, 2008
Michigan WR Mario Manningham
Specifically, Talib admitted at the Combine to testing positive for marijuana three times while at the University of Kansas, according to several league sources. While teams appreciated Talib’s honesty, it bothered one team that Talib dismissed the first positive test because he said he had told Kansas head coach Mark Mangino that he was going to test positive.
Manningham, unlike Talib, denied testing positive at any time throughout college when the question was posed at the Combine about his past marijuana use. He also worked out poorly at the Combine after having waited to sign an agent and showing up unprepared to the annual event.
After hiring an agent, however, Manningham showed up in better physical condition at his pro day and ran considerably faster. He also distributed a letter to NFL team officials admitting that he "wasn't straightforward" during team interviews at the Combine, had failed two drug tests while at the University of Michigan and apologized for any confusion he caused as a result of being “nervous and scared.”
“I don’t use marijuana anymore — and I have passed tests since,” Manningham wrote in the letter. “I know what is at stake for me, and my career. I am learning what it is going to take to be a professional. I am writing this letter because I just want a fair evaluation, and I want to be accountable for my actions. I am willing to be re-interviewed, re-tested, and to undergo any evaluation any team wants me to undergo.”
The way we hear it, Manningham, despite handling the situation poorly at the Combine with little guidance, is viewed as less of a character risk than Talib, who has been removed from more draft boards than Manningham, based on conversations PFW has had with nine NFL teams.
“There is no way I’d touch (Talib),” one team told PFW. “He’s gotten into a lot of trouble, and he still does not get it.”
“He’s got a laundry list of issues,” another team executive said of Talib's off-the-field behavior. “He’s not a one-time offender. Give a guy like him money, and it never gets better. It only gets worse.”
Talib was suspended for two games in 2006 for disciplinary reasons and has numerous non-drug-related issues that concern teams, although he has told teams that he has changed his ways since his daughter was born on June 22, 2007.
Manningham has drawn more sympathy than Talib from teams who have interviewed the pair.
“(Manningham) does not have a strong support network; he just had his grandfather. He needs a lot of guidance," a club official told PFW. "He is embarrassed by his past. He’s really reserved and quiet. Lloyd Carr vouches for him, and they have not always seen eye to eye.”
Manningham was also suspended for the Eastern Michigan game last season "due to Coach Carr's determination that I was lacking in focus," Manningham wrote in his letter.
Both players could still wind up being drafted in the first round, because they possess great football playing instincts and elite athletic ability. However, they could easily slide a round because too many teams have removed them from draft consideration