Beyond The Wall: Can Johnny Manziel Jumpstart NFL Career North Of The Border?

It looks like Johnny Manziel will not be playing in the Canadian Football League during their current 2017 season (which is currently in Week 15). But the league hasn’t ruled out Manziel from playing in 2018.

That will all depend on if he meets the confidential guidelines the league has put in place for the former Texas A&M quarterback. Here’s the statement the league issued on Thursday:

“After an extensive process of due diligence and an in-person meeting with Mr. Manziel, the Commissioner has decided that he will not register any contract for Mr. Manziel for this season. However, Mr. Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the Commissioner, the CFL will register that contract.

“The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed. The CFL has extended the stay on the expiry of the 10-day window for Mr. Manziel until Nov. 30, 2017, and therefore Mr. Manziel will remain on Hamilton’s negotiation list until that date.”

It has been a shame to see Manziel’s career deteriorate over the last couple years. To the point where he is looking outside the NFL to keep playing football.

During his college career, Manziel lit up scoreboards while defenses scratched their heads trying to stop this 6-foot, 200-pound dynamo. In two years as a starter for Texas A&M, Manziel racked up 7,820 yards passing and 63 touchdowns through the air.

Much of his game relied on improvisation after he was forced out the pocket. He would execute passes on the run or scramble from defenders like Aaron Rodgers. Manziel just had this keen sense of awareness about him when he needed to use his feet.

He wouldn’t worry a bit if he felt like he couldn’t find a receiver after the play was extended because he would simply take off downfield with a reckless abandon. He completely disregarded his size compared to defenders on the other side of the ball. And it worked for him; he rushed for 2,169 yards and scored 30 rushing TDs.

But that game and the party lifestyle didn’t translate over into the NFL. It was obvious that Manziel was hooked on his reputation for being the life of the party, even if he had a game the next day. This forced the Browns to cut ties with Manziel and has sent red flags up around him since.

There is no doubt that his pure athleticism could lead him back into football and the CFL would be a great way to reintroduce himself to the professional ranks. Sports are all about second chances and Manziel should be allowed to prove that he has matured since his first stint as a rookie.

Both Warren Moon (a future Hall of Famer) and Doug Flutie got their second chance in the CFL. And even if the CFL won’t allow Manziel in 2018, the Arena Football League could be another option as we have seen numerous players jump from that league to the NFL – mostly because some AFL teams share a city with an NFL team.

And Manziel would attract plenty of attention to this minor-league football atmosphere (like Tim Tebow in the Mets minor leagues) which is continuing to grow.

Whether it’s the AFL or CFL, Manziel is talented enough that a team should give him a second chance. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be talking about Johnny Football as NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2019.