Johnny Manziel’s return to the world of football could be taking form. And once again, it is the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats who are back in the headlines because of it.
According to TSN, the Ticats worked out Manziel last week as the team looks for an adrenaline boost. The Ticats are clearly in desperation mode to improve their team, as you could probably tell from recent headlines. After the workout, however, Hamilton decided there were “too many red flags,” according to an anonymous source quoted by TSN. It seems Manziel’s issues with football are not just physical, but mental as well.
Among other concerns, 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.
Manziel’s maturity had always been in question, from his time at Texas A&M to his brief run in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. It is disappointing to see a player that had so much talent and potential to squander away another opportunity due to not being mentally prepared for the responsibility of playing professional football. Manziel, now 24, is still considered a young prospect, but he is quickly running out of options if he wants to continue pursuing a career in professional football.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the Ticats remain interested in Manziel and there is the possibility the team will eventually sign the former Heisman Trophy winner to a contract, so the door is still left open a crack for Manziel’s professional career to resume after a year away from the game. The Browns released Manziel after the 2015 season and he was left unsigned due to off-field incidents during the entire 2016 season. The Ticats placed Manziel on the team’s negotiation list back in 2012, which means the team would have 10 days to work out a deal with Manziel or trade his rights to another CFL team if Manziel decides to agree to a contract to play in the league.
The Ticats are clearly in desperation mode to improve the offense if this week’s headlines are any indication.
Earlier this week the Ticats hired former Baylor head coach Art Briles, only to have the league step in and nix the idea entirely. Last week, the team promoted former Hawaii and SMU coach June Jones, once dubbed the worst coach in America, to their head coaching position. If the Ticats do end up signing Manziel, then the CFL will not be expected to step in once again on this transaction. In fact, the CFL could welcome Manziel with open arms if he still can make some plays with his feet on a wider field.
Manziel is a completely different story from Briles, although he does come with his share of baggage as well. Players do sometimes have an easier path to the game than a disgraced coach may, and that may end up being the case for Manziel. Manziel has already been checked out by another CFL franchise this year. The Saskatchewan Roughriders reportedly worked Manziel out in Florida in early February, despite not being permitted by league rules to have contact with Manziel (because he is on the Ticats’ negotiation list).
For now, the Manziel Watch is in full swing up north.