Johnny Manziel would have been subjected to domestic violence assessment before joining CFL

Quarterback Johnny Manziel would have been subjected to an assessment by an expert in violence against women before being able to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, according to the CFL.

Kent Austin, Hamilton’s vice-president of football operations, confirmed Wednesday the team worked out Manziel last week in Buffalo, N.Y. and while they ultimately decided against offering the 24-year-old a contract, the Ticats made contact with the league about their interest in Manziel.

As part of that discussion, the team agreed to a voluntary assessment under the CFL’s domestic violence policy. Manziel was charged in January 2016 after being accused of hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley. He reached a dismissal agreement that required him to complete an anger management class, attend a domestic violence impact panel and participate in a substance-abuse program.

“The Tiger-Cats did inform the commissioner Randy Abmrosie of their intention to evaluate Mr. Manziel and they and the commissioner discussed a thorough process Mr. Manziel would have to go through, including an assessment performed by an expert in violence against women,” a league spokesman said. “No determination was made because the Ticats decided not to offer Manziel a contract.”

Under the CFL constitution, the commissioner has the right to reject the contract of a player he feels brings “brings disrepute to the league or the game of football.” The CFL could still subject Manziel to a review process if and when the Ticats – or any team – decides to sign him to a contract.

But Austin said the Ticats aren’t interested in bringing Manziel in for the time being.

“Johnny did some good things . . . on the field he looked fine,” Austin said. “He’s obviously a talented kid,” Austin said. “We’re not interested in signing Johnny right now. That won’t happen, that’s not imminent. We’re not signing Johnny right now.”

Manziel has been on the Ticats neg list since his days at Texas A&M, where he became the first freshman to capture the Heisman Trophy. The Cleveland Browns selected him in the first round, No. 22 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft and he spent two seasons with the club, posting a 2-6 record as a starter before being released March 11, 2016.

But the 24-year-old Manziel has made headlines for all the wrong reasons off the football field. He was dogged by reports of alcohol and drug use and spent 73 days at a treatment centre for an unspecified addiction.

News of Manziel’s workout with Hamilton comes two days after the franchise rescinded its controversial hiring of former Baylor head coach Art Briles. Less than 12 hours appointing Briles as its assistant head coach offence, the Ticats reversed the decision following a firestorm of criticism over the move.

But Austin defended the decision to work out Manziel.

“We have a responsibility to evaluate every single player that’s on our neg list,” Austin said. “That is being done with all of our players and those factors (character) are all considered.

“Don’t read too much into a workout to say that somehow we’re bypassing the evaluation in that particular area. We’re not. ”

– with files from CP

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1040 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

11 Comments on Johnny Manziel would have been subjected to domestic violence assessment before joining CFL

  1. Well done! Excellent citations and explanation of the Commish’s power to veto even though it didn’t come to that.
    Seems like he just wasn’t a good enough football player at this time…..fair enough!

  2. JC, all due respect, that’s not what Kent Austin said. In fact he said the opposite. Good on the field, very talented etc., and something about also evaluating character. It looks to me like Hamilton didn’t sign him due to risk of another meltdown due to his history of slapping around his girlfriend. Looks like they’re trying to tell the fans they’ve learned from their mistakes. I bashed the organization pretty hard about Tillman and Briles but I have to say I’m proud to be a CFL fan again today for the choice they made not to try to sign him. Not that they care what I think or even know I’m alive, but Good Work Guys!

    • My comment was stemming from what I thought I read somewhere that his weight and conditioning were issues. I did read the part about Austin saying he “did some good things out there.” It almost felt like football speak and a way to not offer insult.
      I think you are correct though….no need to keep making the team a turd magnet…..good move on and off field…to skip this

      • The quote I am referencing is KAs quote about game shape and off field conditioning. Not trying to one up you here as I think you are correct. I was simply saying that it seemed to me that they did indeed have on field reasons to pass on him as well.

  3. The fans would never allow him on the team unless was virtuous and pure.

  4. I tend to think the biggest risk with Manziel is the substance abuse that underlies all his other behaviours, and the TiCats probably want that to stabilize before they go further.

    Be that as it may, I agree that the TiCats being proactive on the assessment is a good thing. Maybe the only good to come out of the Briles mess. I hope the CFL and other clubs follow the TiCats lead in this process.

    • Paw, maybe as part of the 2 day medical and on field work out they did a urine test for drugs and it came back hot. Who knows, that could be what Kent meant when he sort of said something about character. Too bad the dude has a questionable history. Would have loved to see him get a chance to play for the Cats. As I recall, that kid can RUN, PASS and scramble too! But way better to pass on him if there are substance abuse issues and domestic violence issues. Probably lots of guys slip through, but at least the Cats are setting a good example on this one. Would have been fun to watch him, though.

  5. richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // August 31, 2017 at 3:16 am //

    Wow! What ever happened to people making mistakes and then being given a chance to learn from them. The last three days have really disappointed me with respect to “keyboard warriors” and their lousy attitudes. What if it was someone you cared about? I am so upset that most of you would be so fanatical. It sounds like the “conform or else” attitudes displayed in places like the Soviet
    Union or the Third Reich. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

    • It’s the “given a chance to learn from them” part. Not everyone does. If someone doesn’t appear ready to make the most of the opportunity, then he or she is not entitled to a second chance. That’s really all there is to it.

      Do you hire someone with a history of theft to manage your store, if he or she shows every sign of doing it to you too? I believe in compassion too, I just don’t believe in getting taken advantage of.

  6. The book on Manziel is that he is high risk high reward. If you bet on the long shot at the race track and win big are you taking advantage of the track? If you lose did the track take advantage of you? That scenario is high risk high reward just as Manziel is. At this point at 0-8 the ti-cats are risking very little and the reward is potentially very high.

  7. Ti-cats need to fish or cut bait on all their neg list people. Start with Griffin. Apparently signing Briles was a ploy to get RG3 there. So if that fell through take him off. Same thing with Manziel. Either sign him this week or offer him up to the highest bidder. Ricky Ray is old and brittle and Johnnie can learn from him. If the Argo fans object then hypocrisy reigns as the good people of Toronto kept electing and re-electing a known drug user as Mayor. At least if his Fiancée can be believed Johnny is clean and wants to play in the CFL. Hamilton let the other 8 teams have a shot.

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