Trying to make a NFL team as a fifth round pick is a difficult challenge. Attempting to do this with severe diarrhea during the dog days of a Wisconsin summer is seemingly unfathomable – just ast Terrell Manning.
But that is exactly what the second year linebacker from North Carolina State did last summer. The first month of training camp Manning suffered from colitis, the result of a parasite residing in his stomach, which in turn led to the swelling of his large intestine and continual diarrhea.
My first reaction to reading this story by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was a grimace, ugh, and the barely audible pronouncement, gross.
It’s certainly a topic no one wants to discuss – and that seems to be how Manning dealt with the scenario. He told next to no one and kept it to himself. This situation for Manning began during the move-in period at the beginning of training camp. He finally saw a doctor just before the third preseason game. Only when the pain was so intense he thought he was seriously near death.
On May the first 2012 I recall reading a story by Martin Hendricks, Special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, about the Packers new linebacker Terrell Manning, a player Ted Thompson traded up to select. It was very flattering depiction of Manning. It sounded as if he could push the incumbents and he was a real playmaker. Manning ran a 4.71 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine and had earned a reputation at North Carolina State for flying’ around and making tackles. I was curious to see how he would do for the Packers.
However in training camp Manning was a disappointment. In fact, on Aug. 14 Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel penned a piece titled, “Packers rookie Manning not making plays yet.” McGinn began the story discussing how puzzling it was that Manning was so unimpressive because so many NFL personnel men thought highly of him. He interviewed Manning, and when doing so Manning made no excuses and just states that he needs to improve. No one knew the discomfort Manning was feeling.
What I learned researching Terrell Manning’s football career and understanding a bit of his character makes me believe he could be a breakout player in 2013. The bout with colitis got him off on the wrong foot and put him behind in training camp. He never was really able to get up to speed in 2012. It was a mulligan for him.
The Packers inside linebacker position will be very competitive. There is an abundance of talent at that spot, but only Desmond Bishop, who is coming off a serious hamstring injury, has proven to be a dominant player. Manning now has a year of experience in defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ System. Match that with the ability NFL scouts said he possessed following the 2012 draft, he could be in a position to come in and play fast and make a case for time on the field.
Terrell Manning is a good story. I mean, most of us, including myself would probably consider staying home from work until a case of chronic diarrhea had passed. This guy donned football pads and went running around and charging into guys, narrowly escaping how he explained, going to the bathroom on himself. That is a special form of toughness and dedication.
I am excited to see if Manning can push A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones for playing time this coming season.
In addition to blogging about the Green Bay Packers for Lombardiave.com, Patrick Hughes blogs about gardening at wheelandbarrowlandscape.com, running and the Portland Trailblazers at Oregon Sports News, and artisans and the connection economy at phughespdx.com.