It is a taboo subject, one of those uncomfortable topics that make a lot of people squirm. Most will avoid it at all costs. But E.J. Manuel, the Florida State quarterback who is expected to be the second quarterback taken in the upcoming NFL draft, hit it head on without batting an eye.
"I think a lot of the pitfalls that put guys I grew up with on the wrong path things that didn't allow them to get to the next level even though they were maybe talented enough to be here came from the fact that they didn't have fathers around," Manuel said during a candid sit-down interview.
This wasn't an off-hand comment by an athlete prone to saying silly things. Manuel is one of the sharpest players in this year's draft, a natural-born leader with just the right blend of savvy, smarts, humility and quiet confidence.
He smiles, shakes hands firmly and looks everyone in the eye, oozing charm.
He says "yes, sir," "no, sir," "thank you,"...