CFL commissioner had 'good' talk with Manziel, but hurdles remain before he can play

It's been nearly two years since Johnny Manziel last took the field in an NFL game. The Browns 2014 first-round pick is looking to get back into professional football though any hopes of returning to the NFL will in part be contingent on if he's successful in the CFL.

On Wednesday, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said he felt "good" about a conversation he had with Manziel in September about the possibility of the quarterback playing north of the border. As it stands, Hamilton Tiger-Cats hold Manziel's rights but Ambrosie stepped in over the summer to guarantee a "thorough and thoughtful" discussion about Manziel's eligibillity to play in Canada.

"He represented himself incredibly well [in the meeting]," Ambrosie told ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. "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."

Ambrosie said meeting with Manziel was the first step to clearing him to play in the CFL and that the quarterback must also meet with investigators about the myriad off-field issues that plagued him during his two-year NFL career.

"If we reach a point where we make an announcement that someone can play, we want to be able to look to the community and say to them that we've done our work, that we have not skipped a step," Ambrosie explained. 

The commissioner added that he could tell "very quickly" that Manziel wanted to play in the CFL, and Tiger-Cats coach June Jones declared that Manziel would "be the best player to ever play up here" should he be cleared to do so.

In related news: Canada could be the quickest path back to the NFL for another mobile former first-round quarterback now out of football altogether.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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