Manziel announced Saturday on his Twitter account that he has signed a two-year contract with the Hamiton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Once opposed to playing north of the border, Manziel's tune has changed after receiving lukewarm interest from NFL teams. He completed nine of his 15 pass attempts for 83 yards and a touchdown during The Spring League, proving to still possess talent greater than his competitors at the showcase. Following some struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder that led to a quick exit from the NFL, he will attempt to get his career back on track. A strong showing with Hamilton in 2018-19 could prompt an NFL club to give Manziel, still just 25, another chance to compete for a roster spot.
Manziel completed nine of 15 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's appearance in The Spring League, NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman reports.
Manzie threw a pretty touchdown pass while rolling out to his right early in the game, but he also took three sacks and failed to erase a four-point deficit on the final drive. It was a mixed bag in his first football game since Dec. 27, 2015, with the 2014 first-round pick unable to fully take advantage of developmental-league competition that's far below NFL standards. Manziel said in late March that he'd be willing to play in the CFL if he doesn't get any NFL offers this offseason, hoping to restart his career after struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder contributed to a rapid fall out of professional football. He recently threw in front of NFL scouts during pro days at the University of San Diego and Texas A&M, shortly after announcing that he'd participate in The Spring League. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats own Manziel's CFL rights and represent his best shot at playing in an actual game this upcoming season, but the 25-year-old likely hopes he'll get a chance to compete for a roster spot in the NFL.
Manziel said he will play in the CFL if he doesn't get any NFL offers this offseason, Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reports.
The 2014 first-round pick has been out of football since March 2016 when he was released by the Browns. Believed to be sober after years of substance-abuse issues, Manziel threw to receivers at the University of San Diego's pro day last week and is scheduled for an appearance at Texas A&M's pro day on Tuesday, per NFL.com. He also intends to play in The Spring League, a developmental football league in Austin, Texas for NFL hopefuls. His CFL rights are held by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a team that went 6-12 while dealing with shaky quarterback play for much of last season.
Manziel posted Wednesday on his personal Twitter account that he'll resume his football career by taking part in The Spring League, a scouting and showcase event based in Austin, Texas.
Manziel, 25, has been out of football since being waived by the Browns in March 2016 following a dismal two-year stint with the club after being selected with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. In addition to his struggles with directing the Cleveland offense, Manziel drew negative headlines for his multiple off-the-field incidents during his time in the league and the months that followed, which further limited other NFL teams' interest in granting him a second chance. During an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" last week, Manziel expressed that he's ready to return to the gridiron after his extended break, acknowledging that he's in a better place to resume his career after getting sober and receiving medication to address bipolar disorder, a condition he said he was diagnosed with "about a year ago," according to ESPN.com. If the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner impresses in The Spring League, which runs from March 28 through mid-April, it's possible that a team may extend him an invite to its offseason program, but it remains unlikely that Manziel will ever take another snap in the NFL.
The Canadian Football League approved Manziel to a sign a 2018 contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reports.
Since being waived by the Browns in March of 2016 following a disastrous two-year run with the team marred by several off-field incidents, Manziel hasn't played professionally anywhere. It appears Manziel's road back to the NFL will have to begin north of the border, though he'll need to fulfill a number of confidential restrictions in order to remain eligible in the CFL. If the 25-year-old Manziel ultimately signs with Hamilton and finds success in his return to the field while avoiding the police blotter, he could get another look at the NFL level down the line.
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