Only three years ago, Johnny Manziel was a first-round draft pick with a Heisman pedigree and an NFL franchise looking to him as a savior.
Now, he can’t even get a job in the Canadian Football League.
On Wednesday, the CFL released a statement declaring Manziel ineligible to play in the league in 2017 but welcome in 2018 if he “meets certain conditions.”
“After an extensive process of due diligence and an in-person meeting with Mr. Manziel, the Commissioner has decided that he will not register any contract for Mr. Manziel for this season. However, Mr. Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the Commissioner, the CFL will register that contract. The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed. The CFL has extended the stay on the expiry of the 10-day window for Mr. Manziel until Nov. 30, 2017 and therefore Mr. Manziel will remain on Hamilton’s negotiation list until that date.”
Manziel is subject to the CFL’s domestic violence policy due to a 2016 incident in which he allegedly assaulted and threatened his ex-girlfriend. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats had placed the quarterback on its 45-man negotiation list and included him in a workout but ultimately declined to offer him a contract, despite an extension on their negotiating window from the league. Now, he’ll have to sit out a season before potentially getting his chance.
Though it looks like Manziel, who has not played in the NFL since 2015, will have to wait a year before returning to the field, he does now have a path back into football. He just has to behave himself for a year, then convince a CFL team 1.) that he has changed and 2.) that he still has elite ability at quarterback. Of course, that all might be easier said than done.