Groves, Manningham try to answer questions with letters

Two potential first-round picks are relying more on personal letters than pro days to improve their draft stock.

Quentin Groves
DE, Auburn

Career statistics
G/GS: 51/23

Tackles: 120

Sacks: 26

Mario Manningham
WR, Michigan

Career statistics
G/GS: 34/24

Rec: 137

Yds: 2,310

TDs: 27

Auburn defensive end Quentin Groves and Michigan wide receiver Mario Manningham each have sent letters to all 32 teams explaining their problems and how they have corrected them, teams confirmed.

Groves admitted to undergoing heart surgery March 27 to treat his Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, an abnormality in the heart's electrical system that can cause rapid heart beats. The condition was identified and the problem alleviated, according to the letter that teams received earlier this week.

Teams still have questions about Groves' health, which helps explain why the defensive end's travel schedule has been full. The six-foot-3, 250-pounder visited Cleveland last month, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati earlier this week, and he is scheduled to visit the Giants, Jets, Patriots and 49ers next week. The early reports on Groves are encouraging; the health questions that existed before have begun to be answered.

Groves was considered a first-round pick before, and even with his medical procedure, he still is expected to be a first-round pick.

Manningham has a different set of issues. At the scouting combine in Indianapolis, he lied to NFL teams about using marijuana. At the time, Manningham did not have legal representation, he had not hired an agent, and he was not prepared for the level of scrutiny he faced.

Since then, the 21-year-old Manningham has hired agent Don Yee -- who also represents Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- and he has written an apology to all 32 teams for not being more straight forward at the combine and taking responsibility for his actions.

Some teams have been open minded about Manningham's apology. On Thursday, he traveled to Indianapolis for a visit with the Colts, and next week Manningham is scheduled to be in New York with the Giants and in Tennessee with the Titans.

What Manningham and Groves have done is similar to what former Northwestern defensive tackle Luis Castillo did in 2005. Castillo sent a letter to all 32 teams admitting he used androstenedione, a steroid that increased the amount of testosterone in his body. Castillo claimed he used the steroid to recover quicker from an elbow injury. At least one team believed it. San Diego drafted Castillo in the first round.

Now Manningham and Groves are hoping that teams are as forgiving with them as one was with Castillo. They will have to wait until April 26 to find out the answer.

The men of Manning

Manningham's visit to Indianapolis is not the only one for a highly-rated receiver. LSU wide wideout Early Doucet also is scheduled to visit the Colts this weekend.

The fact that the Colts have two coveted receivers coming to town could be interpreted in any number of ways, but one option would be in relation to the future of Marvin Harrison. There are questions about how much longer Harrison can and will play.

This offseason, Harrison underwent right knee surgery that could cause him to miss the start of training camp. The right knee was not the one that bothered the eight-time Pro Bowler last season, when he missed 11 games. So Harrison is playing on two questionable knees.

As if that weren't enough of an obstacle, Harrison turns 36 years old this summer. Outside of Jerry Rice, there aren't many receivers who perform at a high level when they are closer to 40 than 30.

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