Don’t call it a comeback yet, but Johnny Manziel may be on the verge of attempting just that in the coming months if he gains the clearance he needs.
According to Dave Pratt of TSN’s 1040 in Vancouver, it is a “good bet” that the former Texas A&M quarterback will be playing in the Canadian Football League for the 2018 season.
It isn’t the first time that Manziel’s name has been linked to the league north of the border. There were indications that the Heisman Trophy winner wanted to play in the league for the 2017 season after failing to see NFL options develop, but the league’s commissioner put a stop to that by insisting upon a thorough review of Manziel’s checkered past before allowing him to play.
During a recent interview with ESPN, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie admitted that he felt “good” about a conversation he had with the former Texas A&M star back in September.
“He represented himself incredibly well [in the meeting],” Ambrosie said. “He was thoughtful. I found him to be authentic and sincere. I also felt like he seems to have come to a good place in his life. He was talking a lot about his family. Now, I should say that’s part of the problem. My bias is towards family. So when I’m with somebody in there talking about my family, immediately I feel good about the conversation.
“That’s exactly why we feel for any player who has had some trouble in their past. It’s important to not let the laypeople be the only part of the decision-making process. That’s why we’ve implemented a process where we’ll lean very heavily on experts who have training and skill that will allow them to really understand where somebody is in their personal journey and be able to give me wise counsel.”
Manziel’s CFL playing rights are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who are coached by former SMU and Hawaii head coach June Jones.
In what can only be described as a recruiting pitch, Jones recently said that Manziel would be the best player to ever grace the league’s playing field.
“I think he’d be the best player to ever play up here,” he said. “He can throw it and he can run it like nobody ever has been able to do.”
Manziel, who was a first-round of the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been out of football since the end of the 2015 NFL season. Presumably, a good showing in the CFL– and good behavior away from the field– could reboot interest in the 25 year old for NFL teams.
The 2018 CFL season begins in May with preseason games, with the regular season slated to run from June to November.
Stay tuned, Manziel fans. Johnny Football fever may soon return.
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