EJ Manuel
refer to caption
Manuel in 2024
No. 3, 5
Personal information
Born: (1990-03-19) March 19, 1990 (age 34)
Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:237 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High school:Bayside (Virginia Beach)
College:Florida State (2008–2012)
NFL draft:2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 16
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-team All-ACC (2012)
Career NFL statistics
Pass completions:343
Pass attempts:590
Passing yards:3,767
Passer rating:77.1
Rushing touchdowns:4
Player stats at PFR

Erik Rodriguez "EJ" Manuel Jr.[1] (born March 19, 1990) is an American former professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Florida State Seminoles, leading them to an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship and Orange Bowl win in his senior year. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

Drafted by the Bills to be their franchise quarterback, Manuel suffered several injuries and saw his on-the-field performance struggle. After starting 10 games while throwing for 1,972 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie year, Manuel made just a combined seven starts and threw eight touchdowns over the next three seasons, remaining behind Kyle Orton and Tyrod Taylor on the depth chart. After leaving the Bills, he spent one year with the Oakland Raiders and sat out the 2018 season. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 offseason, but retired before the start of the preseason.

Early life

Manuel with his father, Erik, in 2013

Manuel was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on March 19, 1990. He attended Bayside High School Virginia Beach, where he played for the Bayside Marlins high school football team.[2] During his time with the Marlins, Manuel recorded nearly 7,400 yards and 68 touchdowns.[3] He was considered a five-star recruit by Scout,[3] a four-star recruit by Rivals.[4] He was an All-American quarterback in high school.[5]

College career

Manuel with Florida State in 2009

Manuel enrolled in Florida State University, where he played for coach Bobby Bowden and coach Jimbo Fisher's Florida State Seminoles football teams from 2008 to 2012.[6] While he was a student, he joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.[7] Manuel became the second collegiate quarterback to win four straight bowl games, the first being Pat White of West Virginia (2005–2008).

2009 season

Manuel took over for an injured Christian Ponder as the 4–5 Seminoles were in danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time since Bobby Bowden took over the program. His first start was an away game against Wake Forest. He completed 15-of-20 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown, leading the Seminoles to a 41–28 win over Wake Forest, who at the time had won three games in a row against Florida State.[8] Manuel struggled in his second game against Maryland but still managed to pull out a much needed win making FSU bowl-eligible.[9] Manuel's struggles continued against the dominating Florida Gators, and the mobile quarterback was not able to get into a rhythm as Florida State lost, 37–10.[10]

Florida State entered the Gator Bowl 6–6 and in serious danger of letting legendary coach Bobby Bowden leave with a losing record. Manuel led Florida State to a 33–21 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers and won the Gator Bowl MVP honors.[11][12]

2010 season

Manuel started twice in the 2010 season in relief of Christian Ponder, who battled a nagging forearm injury. In his first start against Clemson, he picked up 71 yards on 15 carries.[13] He also led the Seminoles to a victory in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl against South Carolina in relief of Christian Ponder, who was injured in the second quarter of the game.[14]

2011 season

In the 2011 season, Manuel played in every game besides the loss at Clemson after injuring his shoulder in a loss against Oklahoma the previous week.[15] He finished the season with 2,666 yards passing on a 65% completion rate. He also finished with 18 passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and eight interceptions.[16] He helped lead the Seminoles to a comeback win against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Champs Sports Bowl by throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns.[17]

2012 season

In the 2012 season, Manuel led the Seminoles to numerous wins over ACC rivals, an ACC Championship, and an Orange Bowl win against Northern Illinois for a 12–2 record in his senior season.[18]

Manuel in 2013

Collegiate legacy

Manuel led the Seminoles to a 12-win season for just the third time in program history[19] and the first time since their dominant stretch in the 1990s. During his senior season, he threw for the second most yards in team history with 3,392, trailing only Chris Weinke's Heisman Trophy winning season, in which Weinke threw for 4,167 yards.[20] Manuel went 25–6 as a starter, won the first BCS bowl for Florida State since 2000, won five out of six games against intrastate rivals Miami and Florida,[19] and he led the offense to its most prolific season in team history, cleanly surpassing the 1999 National Championship squad with 6,591 yards.[21]

College statistics

Florida State Seminoles
Season Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2009 69 106 65.1 817 2 6 124.7 44 196 4.5 2
2010 65 93 69.9 861 4 4 153.3 41 170 4.1 1
2011 203 311 65.3 2,666 18 8 151.2 110 151 1.4 4
2012 263 387 68.0 3,392 23 10 156.0 103 310 3.0 4
Total 600 897 66.9 7,736 47 28 150.4 298 827 2.8 11

Professional career

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks projected him as a top five quarterback heading into the 2013 Draft and compared him to Josh Freeman.[22] While Manuel possessed the blue-chip physical characteristics, work ethic, and leadership qualities necessary to be successful at the NFL level, he was faulted for somewhat inconsistent play at times during his college career.[22]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 4+58 in
(1.95 m)
237 lb
(108 kg)
35 in
(0.89 m)
10+38 in
(0.26 m)
4.65 s 1.67 s 2.75 s 4.21 s 7.08 s 34.0 in
(0.86 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
All values from NFL Combine[23][24]

Buffalo Bills

Manuel was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round with the 16th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.[25] He was the only quarterback taken in the first round of the draft, of which was seen as especially thin at quarterback; the Bills, who originally drafted eighth and had a great need for a quarterback, even traded down to obtain more picks.[26]

2013 season

Manuel passing against the Patriots in 2013

On June 14, 2013, Manuel signed a four-year contract with the Buffalo Bills.[27] The deal was worth a fully guaranteed $8.88 million, including a signing bonus of $4.85 million evenly spaced out annually ($1.2 million) over the next four years. His salary in 2013 was $1.6 million, $2.0 million in 2014, $2.4 million in 2015, and $2.8 million in 2016.[28]

Manuel underwent an operation on his knee to remove fluid buildup after the second game of the preseason. At the time, it was unsure if he would be ready to start the season-opener.[29] On September 4, head coach Doug Marrone announced at the team meeting that Manuel was confirmed to be the starter for Week 1. In the season opener, Manuel completed his first NFL career touchdown, to fellow rookie Robert Woods, on an 18-yard completion.[30] On September 15, Manuel engineered his first fourth-quarter comeback. He led a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown march to bring his team back from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter, with seconds left in the game. The Bills went on to win in a Week 2 game against the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24–23.[31] Manuel was voted the "Pepsi Next NFL Rookie of the Week" for his performance.[32]

On October 3, during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns, Manuel sprained his right lateral collateral ligament, causing him to miss the next five weeks of his rookie season.[33] Manuel had an up-and-down first year, but was given a vote of confidence by coach Marrone as he was announced to be the starting quarterback for the 2014 season.[34][35] In 10 games, Manuel finished his rookie year throwing for 1,972 passing yards, with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In addition, he rushed for 186 yards, scoring two rushing touchdowns.

2014 season

Manuel in 2014

On September 28, 2014, in a game against the Houston Texans, one of Manuel's passes was intercepted by All-Pro defensive end J. J. Watt and returned 80 yards for a touchdown.[36] The next day, he was benched in favor of veteran quarterback Kyle Orton after starting the first four games of the 2014 season and bringing the Bills to a 2–2 record.[37] Manuel finished the 2014 with 838 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a career-high passer rating of 80.3. Orton would win seven of the next 12 games, finishing the Bills 2014 season with a 9–7 record, the first time the Bills had posted a winning record since 2004.[38]

2015 season

After posting the franchise's first winning record in a decade, Orton retired and Marrone opted out of the rest of his contract. The Bills then hired former division rival Rex Ryan as head coach. Manuel competed with free agent acquisition Tyrod Taylor and trade acquisition Matt Cassel for the starting quarterback job.[39] During mini-camp, Manuel struggled to compete for the starting job and was listed as the third-string quarterback on the depth chart. Manuel performed well in the third preseason game, completing nearly all of his passes, showing improved accuracy. On August 31, 2015, coach Rex Ryan announced that Manuel and Cassel had lost the starting job to Taylor.[40]

Manuel made his first start in over a year in Week 6 against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor, who suffered an MCL injury the previous week.[41] On the first drive of the game for the Bills against the Bengals, he led the Bills 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. Manuel finished 28-42 for 263 passing yards, a passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and an interception in the 34–21 loss.[42]

Against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 25 in London, Manuel threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns but had three costly turnovers, two of which were returned directly for scores in the second quarter. He rallied the Bills from 24 points down to take the lead in the fourth quarter. However, Jacksonville regained the lead with a Blake Bortles touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Hurns, sealing the win 34–31 as the Bills were unable to respond.[43] With the loss, Manuel became the first quarterback in NFL history to lose a game in three countries (United States, Canada, and England).[44]

2016 season

Manuel handing the ball off in 2016

On May 2, 2016, it was announced that the Bills declined to exercise Manuel's fifth-year option for the 2017 season.[45] He would see spot duty through the first part of the 2016 season, usually as parts of trick plays. With the Bills being out of playoff contention, Manuel started the final game of the regular season due to Tyrod Taylor being inactive. Manuel completed 9 of 20 passes for 86 yards before being benched for rookie quarterback Cardale Jones to start the fourth quarter.[46]

Oakland Raiders

2017 season

On March 20, 2017, Manuel signed a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.[47] During Week 4 game against the Denver Broncos, Derek Carr suffered a back injury in the third quarter and was relieved by Manuel, who completed 11 of 17 passes for 106 yards and an interception as the Raiders lost by a score of 16–10.[48] Due to Carr's injury, Manuel started the Week 5 game against the Baltimore Ravens, completing 13 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown as the Raiders lost by a score of 30–17.[49] With the Raiders' loss to the New England Patriots on November 19 in Mexico City, Manuel became the first quarterback in NFL history to be on a team that would lose a game in four different countries (United States, Canada, England, and Mexico).[50]

2018 season

On March 22, 2018, Manuel re-signed with the Raiders.[51] On September 1, 2018, he was released.[52]

Kansas City Chiefs

On February 22, 2019, Manuel was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.[53]


On May 13, 2019, Manuel announced his retirement.[54] Shortly after, he announced that he would be joining the ACC Network as a college football analyst.[55]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2013 BUF 10 10 180 306 58.8 1,972 6.4 11 9 77.7 53 186 3.5 2
2014 BUF 5 4 76 131 58.0 838 6.4 5 3 80.3 16 52 3.3 1
2015 BUF 7 2 52 84 61.9 561 6.7 3 3 78.5 15 59 3.9 1
2016 BUF 6 1 11 26 42.3 131 5.0 0 0 58.3 8 22 2.8 0
2017 OAK 2 1 24 43 55.8 265 6.2 1 1 72.3 2 15 7.5 0
Career 30 18 343 590 58.1 3,767 6.4 20 16 77.5 96 339 3.5 4

Bills franchise records


Personal stock offering

It was reported that Manuel would be offering stock in his future earnings via a venture with Fantex, Inc. as part of a new financial instrument being sold by Fantex. He planned to offer a 10% share of all future earnings from his brand to Fantex, which would then turn around and divide it into shares of a publicly traded tracking stock.[57]

In July 2014, the Manuel/Fantex stock offering was completed. 523,700 shares were sold, valued at $10 per share.[57]


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