Doug Flutie, three-time Grey Cup winner, says Johnny Manziel has a lot to learn in the CFL
Flutie's CFL success got him back into the NFL, but says CFL veterans have an edge on newcomers
Johnny Manziel, the former first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns who hasn't played in the NFL since 2016. His latest stop is the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he hopes he can prove he's still got the talent to play in the United States. However, according to CFL legend Doug Flutie, Manziel still has a lot of work to do while he plays out his two-year contract with the Tiger-Cats.for
"In Johnny's situation, very similar to me, there's a learning curve that goes on up there and you're competing against guys who are veterans in the league and know what they're doing," Flutie said, per Pro Football Talk. "You really have to learn that game and get efficient at it to win championships and be at that caliber."
Flutie would know. After winning the Heisman Trophy, he played four seasons in the NFL before his NFL opportunities dried up, leading him to join the BC Lions in the CFL. In eight CFL seasons, Flutie was named the Most Outstanding Player six times, won three Grey Cups (once with the Calgary Stampeders and twice with the Toronto Argonauts) and won MVP in all three of those Grey Cups. He became the first non-Canadian to be named to the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Flutie eventually found his way back to the NFL in 1998, playing eight more seasons before retiring after the 2005 season.
"He needs to be a leader on the team, show that he's serious about football again, and put his nose to the grindstone and go," Flutie said of Manziel, via PFT.
Manziel doesn't necessarily have to become the legend that Flutie did in the CFL to make it back, but he will have to stand out in a pro league with its own rules and strategies, most notably 12 men on the field and three downs. If Manziel fumbles his CFL opportunity, he's unlikely to get another NFL shot like Flutie did.
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