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Big Ben unsure if Johnny Manziel can take the pounding


Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon isn't the first to question whether Johnny Manziel's six-foot, 200-pound frame can absorb the physical punishment his scrambling style is likely to withstand in the NFL, and now he's not the last, either.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who knows a thing or two about taking hits -- albeit from the pocket rather than in the open field -- has some of the same concerns. And so does former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter.

"I was in the weight room the other day with Joey Porter, (and he was) asking me what I thought about Manziel," Roethlisberger said on his radio show. "I looked at Joey and said, 'Joey, do you think if you got a good hit on him, that he would be OK? And he said, 'No, not at all.' And that's my question. You have guys like Joey Porter, who's a big guy, guys that are fast like Troy (Polamalu), Ike Taylor coming off the edge, Lawrence Timmons. You'd better be real athletic, get down or be big."

Roethlisberger (6-5, 241 pounds), of course, has the latter quality to handle the punishment. Manziel certainly has the athleticism to escape his share of hits. But it only takes one to put a career on hold. And as Robert Griffin III can attest, sometimes a serious injury doesn't require a hit at all. The difference between an injury-shortened career for a first-round pick and one that flourishes through a second or third NFL contract can have everything to do with how that pick is perceived long-term.

The team that invests in Manziel this week will be banking on his ability to stay upright as much as his ability to deliver victories.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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