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1998 Draft

1998 NFL Scouting Report

Patrick Mannelly,
6-4, 285, 5.20, Duke

A strong-side offensive tackle in college, Mannelly also has the versatility to play both guard and center and is generally considered by scouts to be the best deep snapper in the draft. Although he is not as big as scouts would like, he is a fundamentally sound player and is considered to have the frame to get bigger and stronger. The downside is he has played only two full seasons on the offensive line. He also had surgery on his right shoulder in '96, though he has shown no ill effects. Teams are always on the lookout for players with good deep-snapping skills and his potential as an OL swingman is a big plus.

Patrick Mannelly missed Duke’s 1996 football season, and he’s not even sure why.

Neither are some of the best minds in medicine at Duke University’s Medical Center.

Mannelly, a senior offensive tackle with the Blue Devils, sat out last season with a mysterious hip ailment, the cause of which has stumped Duke doctors to this day. He’s now back in uniform after enduring a frustrating and often painful year away from the field.

“It’s kind of surprising. You’ve got all these great minds who have been around medicine and they lean back in the chair and say, ‘I don’t know what it is,”’ Mannelly told members of the 1997 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Tour this week.

Big things were expected of the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder entering ’96. He’d been named to the preseason All-ACC team chosen by College Sports after starting all 11 games at offensive guard the previous year.

But as preseason practice drew near, the pain started in Mannelly’s hip. He eventually missed all of preseason practice, but returned in time to start the opener against Army. But after a quarter-and-a-half, the pain became so severe he had to come out.

It would be months before Mannelly would be allowed onto a football field again.

“I couldn’t do anything,” Mannelly said. “Some days I’d wake up and it would be OK. Then, 20 minutes later I’d be walking and it would lock up and start hurting me. It would last anywhere from five minutes to the rest of the day. It was so frustrating because it would come and go.”

While Duke struggled through an 0-11 season, Mannelly endured a battery of medical tests and procedures as doctors searched for the cause of his pain.

Doctors isolated the location of the pain in Mannelly’s hip, but they never made a diagnosis about the cause. They eventually considered exploratory surgery, an idea that didn’t sit well with Mannelly.

“They would have had to detach my hip and go in there and do a lot of serious moving around,” Mannelly said. “That could have been career ending, so that was the scariest part.”

Rest prescribed
The doctors eventually decided on a simpler method of treatment.

“Just rest, pure rest,” Mannelly said. “And always ice. They’d throw ice on it. But rest was the big thing.”

They also treated the area on two occasions with various inflammation medicines, using a six-inch syringe to inject the drugs.

The second time that procedure was used came right before Thanksgiving. Mannelly went home to Marietta, Ga., during the holiday break and stayed off his feet for five straight days.

The pain mysteriously subsided and hasn’t returned since.

Mannelly was finally able to resume working out on a limited basis in late February.

“They put me into it real slowly because they were kind of scared if it came back they wouldn’t know what to do,” Mannelly said.

The ailment is still a source of concern for the Duke medical staff, according Mannelly. Football trainer Hap Zarzour and the team’s orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Speer keep a constant check on Mannelly’s condition.

“Every day Hap, our trainer, calls up Dr. Speer on the little phone during practice to check in,” Mannelly said. “The other day Dr. Speer asked if there had been any injuries in practice. Hap was just going through telling him about this or that player’s injury.

“I had a slight hamstring pull, so Hap said my name. Dr. Speer told him, ‘Don’t tell me the ‘H’ word.’ Hap said, ‘Does hamstring count as the ‘H’ word?’ I think Dr. Speer was relieved to hear it was hamstring and not hip.”

Duke coach Fred Goldsmith is also relieved to have Mannelly back on the offensive line.

“Patrick Mannelly is a good athlete and he plays with football savvy, which means an awful lot,” Goldsmith said. “Having him back also means we don’t have to go with a younger guy at that position. So Mannelly is a difference maker in that offensive line bunch.”

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