Johnny Manziel released by Alouettes for violating contract, CFL bans him from signing with other teams

Canada was supposed to be an image rehabilitation opportunity for Johnny Manziel, but things appear to have gone poorly for the former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick, as the Montreal Alouettes announced on Wednesday they were releasing Manziel after the quarterback apparently violated his contract.

Alouettes GM Kavis Reed said the team is "disappointed" and referenced "a great deal of support" from the Alouettes, but couldn't come to an agreement on a very vague situation. 

"We are disappointed by this turn of events. Johnny was provided a great deal of support by our organization, in collaboration with the CFL, but he has been unable to abide by the terms of his agreement," Reed said in a statement. "We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed."

Additionally, per the Alouettes, the CFL "has informed all of its clubs that it will not register a contract" -- meaning the league office will not allow anyone to sign Manziel to a contract. 

"We are confident going into the 2019 training camp with a roster of quarterbacks that had played in our system last year and are committed to our team," added Reed.

Manziel responded himself on Twitter after the news broke:

Manziel was one of two first-round picks for the Browns back in 2014, but his time in Cleveland was extremely short, as the controversial quarterback was released by Cleveland in March of 2016. Manziel's career with Cleveland unfolded in disaster fashion, with the quarterback battling substance abuse issues and later on being involved in a domestic violence case with his then girlfriend, a matter that was later dismissed by a Texas court.

At one point Manziel's own father said the quarterback wouldn't even make it to his 24th birthday

Manziel would eventually seek help via rehab and get clean, as he detailed in a public interview during the offseason last year. But he needed to show NFL teams he could play football and function on a roster, so Manziel turned to the CFL for employment, signing a contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before the 2018 CFL season

Stuck on the depth chart behind Jeremiah Masoli, Manziel was traded to the Alouettes and had a disastrous debut, throwing four picks in his first start with Montreal. The QB's second start was much better, but his time in Montreal has not been outstanding.

He was supposed to be going through what the league called "extensive and exhaustive" conditions as a result of his employment, including monthly Lithium tests and weekly therapy. 

From Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today back in 2018:

Whether he plays or not, Manziel's employment in the CFL will depend on conditions set forth by the league, which called them "extensive and exacting." Manziel labels them "mutually beneficial."

Though the CFL has declined to make those stipulations public due to Canadian privacy laws and an assurance that they would stay confidential, Manziel revealed they include mandatory doctor visits and required Lithium tests each month. He also must visit with a therapist once a week.

So while it's easy to jump to conclusions and assume Manziel did something specifically wrong here, it's possible that Manziel ultimately decided he was tired of doing the requirements that the league imposed on him as a result of his contract despite it being the offseason. 

What happens next? There are already dots being connected to Manziel and the Alliance of American Football. Per CBS Sports Ben Kercheval, it's likely that Manziel would be assigned to San Antonio, but it's also even more likely that teams might take issue with the manner in which he was let go by the CFL.

Manziel himself tweeted that he plans on seeking other options within the United States.

Regardless of how things play out, Manziel's future in football remains just as cloudy as ever. 

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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