Saints an option? Johnny Manziel, Sean Payton reportedly discussed return to NFL

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It’s been a year since the Browns gave up on Johnny Manziel, and in the months that followed the 2014 first-round pick regularly made news for his partying habits. It got so bad that Manziel’s father said he didn’t expect his son to see his next birthday unless he changed his ways.

But by the start of the 2016 season, Manziel was rarely in the news and when TMZ caught up with him in late September he said he was glad to be back in school. Earlier this month, Manziel was engaged to Bre Tiesi, who is supportive of his plan to return to the NFL.

Also supportive? Saints coach Sean Payton, at least according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who tweeted Thursday morning that Payton and Manziel were spotted eating breakfast together during Super Bowl week where they discussed a return to football.

Rapoport added: “The Saints still need a backup QB. Payton could make the most of Manziel’s talent. Drew Brees would be a perfect mentor. A lot makes sense.”

In theory, maybe this makes sense on some level. But the reality is that the Saints have gone 7-9 three years straight and there are probably more important things on the to-do list for Payton than taking on a reclamation project that wasn’t very good during his first stint in the league. Not only that, who knows if Brees even has any interest in being a mentor. And don’t forget the media scrutiny that will follow Manziel.

There’s also this: 

The Saints had the 20th selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. They took wide receiver Brandin Cooks two picks before the Browns drafted Manziel.

To his credit, Manziel took to Twitter in January -- around the time he reportedly met with Payton --  to thank those who have supported him “during the truly rough patches” in 2016.

Manziel also indicated at the time that he has been working out, presumably because he’s eyeing a return to the NFL. During Super Bowl week, Manziel was in Houston signing autographs where he told fans, “I just want to get back on the field,” adding, “If I played in a preseason game, I’d treat it like the Super Bowl.”

One caveat to all this: If Manziel does indeed get another chance at NFL glory, there’s a possibility that he could face a suspension as a result of his domestic violence case from January 2016.

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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