Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has not played a down of football since 2015 and has been out of the professional sport, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, since the Browns released him in March of 2016. But the 2014 first-round draft pick may finally be ready to get back on the field, albeit not in the NFL. No, it’s the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats that have come calling.
According to a report this week from TSN, the Ticats worked out Manziel on August 23 and 24 in Buffalo, New York. In that report, from Fahan Lalji and Dave Naylor, a source has said that “too many red flags,” kept the Ticats from signing him. Further, “the Ticats were not convinced Manziel is in in game shape or that his off-field regiment is consistent with that of someone dedicated to professional football,” wrote Lalji and Naylor.
Manziel fell out of favor in Cleveland quickly due to his greater dedication to partying and the spotlight than to football. He tried to clean up his act, including stints in rehab, but the weight of the strikes against him was too much for the Browns, or any other NFL team, to bear. He was also in the midst of dealing with domestic violence charges levied at him by his ex-girlfriend, something that made him understandably untouchable to any team in the league.
But now, the team that just was forced to reverse course on hiring disgraced former Baylor head football coach as an offensive assistant has seemingly found Manziel not worth the time or potential headache—at least, immediately. This may not be Manziel’s last chance with the Ontario-based team.
According to the TSN report, Manziel will remain on the Ticats’ negotiation list and if Manziel’s agent determines the time is right for the quarterback to sign with Hamilton, the Ticats then have 10 days to determine if they want to do so or trade his rights to another team in the CFL.
Further, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is reporting that, “the Tiger-Cats remain extremely interested in Manziel, and the team could still sign him... the Tiger-Cats have a very positive attitude toward Manziel, and new coach June Jones and others in the organization feel very strongly about signing him to a contract,” which is something Florio notes could happen “in the next week or so.”
Manziel started only eight games in his two seasons with the Browns, and threw seven touchdowns to seven interceptions in his NFL career. He also rushed 259 times for two scores. With production like that in what, at the time, seemed like the peak of Manziel’s capabilities, it’s impossible to say what the second chapter of his professional football career would look like—and that’s if it even happens at all.