Tuesday, March 27, 2018
MANZIEL LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR CFL
A return to the NFL is still the former Heisman Trophy winner's top priority. But if an offer doesn't come this off-season, then the 25-year-old Texan will play in Canada in 2018.
"If something pops up, it pops up,'' Manziel told reporters Tuesday after throwing at Texas A&M's pro day. "If not and I don't get the opportunity to go back (to NFL) I'm going to go play in the CFL and things are going to be fine.
"One way or another, one day down the line I'll get back to exactly where I want to be because I'm not going to stop until I do.''
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats own Manziel's CFL rights and have made a contract offer to his agent, Erik Burkhardt, but the two sides have yet to reach an agreement. The Ticats currently have starter Jeremiah Masoli along with Vernon Adams Jr., Dane Evans and Bryant Moniz under contract.
Manziel drew a crowd at College Station, Texas, as all 32 NFL teams and two from the CFL (Saskatchewan and Montreal) attended Tuesday's workout. Manziel's presence also drew plenty of attention on social media with photos and video of him throwing passes posted online.
It was Manziel's second pro day appearance. He also threw at the University of San Diego's workout Thursday before scouts representing 13 NFL teams.
Manziel starred at Texas A&M, capturing the '12 Heisman Trophy as U.S. college football's top player. He was selected in the first round, No. 22 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
But the Browns released Manziel in March 2016 after he posted a 2-6 record over two tumultuous seasons. Manziel has been out of football since.
Manziel also had public off-field issues. In April 2016 a former girlfriend accused him of assault, and the misdemeanour assault charge was dropped after Manziel attended an anger management course, a domestic violence victim panel and substance abuse program.
Manziel has also divulged he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder that he takes medication for and candidly discussed his alcohol use while he had depression.
"I feel like I'm different, I feel like I'm doing really well,'' he said. "I feel like from a mental standpoint I've figured out what benefits me the most and what helps me.
"I can sit here and say that all day but until I really get the opportunity and go in and show it day in and day out and keep this consistent run of good behaviour, of good health going then it's all for naught if I don't. But I'm confident that I will. I'm preaching to myself, 'Consistency, consistency,' every day.''
There's precious little down time for Manziel, who'll play in the Spring League, starting Wednesday until April 15 in Austin, Texas. The circuit will consist of four teams and conduct joint practices and games for players who've have been overlooked by the NFL.
"I can't do what I want to do football-wise if I don't do what I need to do mental health-wise,'' he said. "If I'm not going to see a psychiatrist and a psychologist at least a couple of times a week, if I'm not going and taking my medicine every day that I need to take I'm not the same person and I see it.
"So, first things first. I can't be me without doing the necessary steps that I need to do to keep my head right and that's just a fact.''
However, Manziel won't provide a timeline regarding his NFL return.
"I think we'll feel it out a bit as it goes after the Spring League and see,'' he said. "The quarterback market (in the NFL) itself has to play itself out, there's still a bunch of guys that are unsigned.''
Manziel said the Spring League offers him a valuable opportunity to get back into a football environment.
"Being there doing the film stuff, getting back into the really, really, real football stuff, it's not just coming out and throwing and working out,'' he said. "That's what the Spring League gives me a little bit of - a practice setting.''
(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)