Stud of the Week: Ricky Manning Jr.

A few days ago, Ricky Manning Jr. was having the kind of week that most people would like to forget. But after his two interceptions in a blowout victory over the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, the fourth-year cornerback had a day he probably hopes he'll always remember. Manning is the Bear Report Stud of the Week.

Ricky Manning Jr. pleaded no contest to assault charges last Tuesday and was sentenced to three years of probation and a year of anger management counseling. He was arrested this past April and accused of attacking a man while dining at a Denny's in suburban Los Angeles. Although he professed his innocence - and still does to this day - Manning pleaded no contest to the charges on the recommendation of his legal team.

Although many players would have ducked the media for a while after such as event, Manning was very candid when talking to reporters in the locker room at Halas Hall before practice last Wednesday. The Bears organization stands behind him, but he could still face disciplinary action from the league for this episode. Manning just hopes he is judged fairly.

"Hopefully the NFL will be more active in this and not let people just take advantage of their players," he said, "because I was accused of something that I didn't do. The DA said I wasn't involved in this. I didn't beat the guy, and hopefully, they'll be fair with me."

Fortunately for the Bears, Manning was able to put all of this behind him quickly and turn in a key performance against Seattle, the defending NFC champion.

Manning intercepted two Matt Hasselbeck passes in the second quarter, the first setting up a Robbie Gould field goal and the second leading to a Thomas Jones touchdown. The Bears trailed 3-0 in the early going, but the former Bruin changed the face of the game from his nickelback position. He was on the field more than usual with the Seahawks missing tailback Shaun Alexander and featuring a lot of four-receiver sets, helping him earn the Bear Report Stud of the Week award.

The Bears went on to crush Seattle 37-6 and emerge from Week 4 as the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. Manning pushed hard for a spot in the starting lineup during training camp, but he has settled in quite nicely in the nickel package and on special teams. He brings a wealth of playoff experience to a secondary that was believed to be vulnerable, but after shutting down one of the better passing attacks in football, the rest of the league has been put on notice.


Bear Report Top Stories