Johnny Manziel: NFL teams have shown interest, playing in CFL 'still on the table'

Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel, who recently revealed he is battling bi-polar disorder, is on the comeback trail, hoping to let people know he has turned his life around and trying to acquire a second chance in the NFL

That's his end goal and, according to an interview with Manziel on "Pardon My Take", he has had interest from NFL teams over the last year or so.

"There were some things that were transpiring last year that I thought really might work out that were not as well known to the public. But behind some scenes I thought we were making some progress," Manziel told noted journalists Big Cat and PFT Commenter. "Once you get to the NFL Draft and guys start getting traded and the quarterback market kind of plays it self out, things start to slow down a little bit. That's kind of where I've been at -- so to say I have some interest that's definitely true. It's kind of hit or miss -- I'm just trying to be patient. I didn't hear anything from anybody until around Super Bowl time or a couple weeks after. Now that the season's over and people are looking and evaluating things, all I can do is try to stay the course of doing what I'm doing and give myself the best opportunity moving forward."

Manziel also could end up going to the Canadian Football League. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats offered Manziel a two-year contract recently, but the quarterback has yet to lock into playing in Canada. He was initially ruled ineligible to sign a contract with Hamilton, but the CFL commish approved his eligibility. Now it's up to Manziel to work something out -- he says it's "still on the table."

"Yeah it's definitely still on the table. As with anything it takes a little bit of time," Manziel said. "The season just ended with the NFL -- the CFL ended a couple months before. Just taking some time and not rushing into anything and making sure everything is a fit, I feel like that's the biggest thing right now."

Manziel, drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and released in the 2016 offseason by the Cleveland Browns, has been working on the comeback trail for quite some time now

He had assault charges in Texas dismissed in an incident involving his ex-girlfriend, and, after spending a full two years on the party circuit, has decided to go sober. Manziel told the guys on PMT that is still the case.

"I am. It's what's worked for me. I can sit here and say it, with a straight face, I don't function well and don't do well when there's alcohol involved," Manziel said. "Do I feel like I have a physical dependency or anything like that? No, but the decisions I make when I do drink just aren't as good as the ones I make when I'm clear-headed. I know it sounds really simple to say but it's just so true in my life to see what happens when I don't compared to what happens when I do."

According to Manziel, he went to a rehab facility in Cleveland for three months and "learned a great blueprint" in order to acclimate himself back into the real world. 

"The thing I've done mostly in the last year and a half or two years is go to more therapy," Manziel said. "And see a psychiatrist to make sure I'm where I need to be mentally. And still continue to do some of the other things on the side, as far as AA [and] things like that. I really just try to take care of my mental health." 

We broke down the Manziel debate on our "Pick Six Podcast" with myself, Jason La Canfora and Pete Prisco: the consensus was, despite his availability and despite his interest in the NFL, Manziel probably isn't a viable option right now for NFL teams. There's just not enough film available or football-related activities he's been doing. JLC believes he should probably head to the CFL first and put that film and behavior out there, then try and make his way back to the NFL. 

Jumping right back into the NFL would be the preferred move by Manziel, of course, because it helps to take a step out of the process. There are not a ton of great free-agent quarterbacks out there, aside from Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins, so maybe Manziel could actually intrigue someone in this market, given his pedigree and obvious physical talents. 

But it's also possible the road to comeback ends up being longer than he wants it to be based on where he's at right now. Fortunately it sounds as if Manziel is patient and willing to work for his shot. Given what he's accomplished so far, if he's truly earnest about getting back on track, he'll eventually get another look.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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