Talent, apparently, isn’t everything. Just ask Johnny Manziel. The quarterback blazed into the NFL on a cloud of expectations that was, very probably, unfair. But he loved every minute of it. Then he lit his opportunity on fire and watched it blaze down to ashes.
Now, it seems, the NFL is done with Johnny Football. At least for the time being. But that doesn’t mean Manziel is done with football for good. There is a league in the Great White North that offers a place for NFL castoffs and players who couldn’t quite stick with a team. The Canadian Football League may not have the prestige of its neighbor to the south, but it is a great place to play. The competition is solid, and the looser offensive rules actually favor the sort of gunslinger Manziel wants to be. Just ask Warren Moon. Moon starred for the Edmonton Eskimos before putting up Hall of Fame numbers for the NFL’s Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings. Now, there’s some rumors floating around, very publicly, that Johnny Football is headed up north to ball. That could be exactly the sort of cold reboot Manziel needs to get his career back on track. There’s little doubt he has the chops to play the game. But it’s been his off the field antics that got Johnny crossways with the league. Still, he hasn’t played since 2015, so that may mean Manziel needs to knock the rust off.The CFL with its wide-open offense and strong talent pool could very well be the right place to make that happen. Speaking to Fox Sports about the possibilities, Manziel said, “In terms of looking at the CFL route, it’s definitely something that I’ve looked into… If I wouldn’t have had as much interest that I’ve had this year in talking with some teams, I probably would have taken that route…”
But that interest never became an actual offer, so Manziel did try out for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats last August. Hamilton coaches weren’t impressed…at least not impressed enough to give the kid a shot at redemption. But they didn’t quite cut him loose either, and Manziel said if they made him an offer he would sign. So, is he or isn’t he? Well, that’s been the story of Johnny Football’s career. Is he or isn’t he going to be a star? Is he or isn’t he going to keep his personal demons at bay long enough to stay in game shape? Is he or isn’t he going to produce more touchdowns than PR headaches?
So far, the answer to those questions has been: Not yet. Apparently not. Definitely not. All of which is a sad commentary … but it’s not the end of the story. It’s not football’s job to help a player keep their head on straight and their nose clean. That responsibility is on the shoulders of the player … and Manziel could be that guy. But he’s running out of options.
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