Johnny Manziel at one point was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to play the game when he was wearing the Texas A&M Aggies uniform. Since then? Not so much.
Manziel has bounced around since being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns back in 2014. He spent two seasons there before being cut from the team in 2016 and then proceeded to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 2018. After six weeks there, he got traded to the Montreal Alouettes, but after the 2018 season, he was released by the league after they had determined that he had “contravened” with his agreement with the league. He found a home shortly afterwards with the Memphis Express of the now defaulted Alliance of American Football. That’s where this story really begins.
Before joining the Express, the San Antonio Commanders had first claim on him since that was the team geographically closest to where he went to college. Commanders General Manager Daryl Johnston (former Dallas Cowboys fullback) waived his rights and that’s how he joined the Express. Johnston has never been the biggest fan of Manziel and that has been evident in the past, but he’s back in the news again regarding Manziel as he once again says he would pass on him.
“For me the chemistry in the locker room is critical, and especially the quarterback position,” now Dallas Renegades Director of Player Personnel Johnston said according to SportsDay. “He kind of sets the tone, especially for the offensive side of the ball, but really for the whole team. There is so much added responsibility that goes with the face, goes with the voice of the franchise. And I haven’t seen that from Johnny on a consistent basis that I would feel comfortable committing to him.”
There’s no question that Manziel’s troubled past has been the main reason he has not returned to the NFL, but the XFL is a league of second chances. This is where Manziel belongs for two reasons: 1. I have every reason to believe that he has truly matured with how he was with interviews with the Express when he played in the Alliance. 2. He would put people in the seats of every XFL football stadium no matter how people feel about him.
I personally believe the Houston Roughnecks would be perfect for him since he already has a personal relationship with June Jones from their time in the CFL. Manziel does not fit the offensive scheme that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops will have and I still believe the league will do what it takes to get Stoops and recent signed quarterback Landry Jones back together.
Manziel was average during his time in the Alliance as he was outshined by 3rd string quarterback Brandon Silvers (one of the XFL draft invitees) and never really had a chance to prove himself. I know he had second and third chances in the CFL and the Alliance, but there is still some spark of excitement with how he plays and I think he still somewhat salvage his career. Johnston may not see it now, but with a new league trying to attract attention and giving players another chance at playing professional football, I think it’s time for all of us to move on from the past and let’s give Manziel another shot.