By Paul Gotham
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Chris Manhertz spent the last four years shedding defenders on the hard court. If all goes well, the former Canisius Golden Griffin might get a chance to shed tacklers on the gridiron in the near future.
Next week Manhertz will make the trek from Main Street to One Bills Drive for a workout with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL.
“It’s really a blessing,” Manhertz said recently by phone. “It’s an opportunity that I hope I can take advantage of.”
The 6-6, 235 pound forward led the Griffs in rebounding three seasons and finished his time in Blue and Gold ranked fourth in school history with 789 boards. He registered four double-doubles during his senior campaign and 14 in his career.
But Manhertz’s best attribute, his physicality, also came with a liability. The power forward picked up four or more fouls in 12 different games this past season. On six occasions Manhertz fouled out of games each time playing less than 30 minutes in regulation.
Canisius fans grew accustomed to Manhertz and his tireless play on the court. He routinely matched up with larger opponents and won the battle on the boards.
Manhertz hopes that makes him a candidate to block at the line and run routes from the tight end spot.
“I have nothing to lose,” Manhertz said. “Just go in there and give it my best.”
Instead of chasing the pigskin at Cardinal Spellman in the Bronx, Manhertz chose to focus his energies on basketball.
“In high school I really didn’t have any interest in playing football,” he recalled. “I was more interested in basketball. Looking back I probably should have at least tried it.”
Manhertz has already completed his undergrad degree in Health and Wellness and is currently working to complete his Master’s in Sports Administration.
The Bills front office reached out to Manhertz last week with the offer of the one-day workout. Manhertz will get the chance to see if his athletic abilities can carry over from basketball to football.
“It’s an opportunity I can’t turn down. There are tons of kids who play football their whole lives and for somebody to call me it’s a real honor.”