Ticats cleared to sign Johnny Manziel, if the team wants

More than five years after placing him on their negotiation list, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are now free to sign Jonny Manziel.

But, so far, they aren’t commenting on the matter.

“We have been notified that Johnny Manziel, on our negotiation list since September 2012, has gone through the formal process established by Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, and that provided he meets the conditions laid out to him by the Commissioner, is now eligible to play in the Canadian Football League in 2018 and beyond,” the Tiger-Cats said in a news release at the noon hour Thursday.

“We appreciate the CFL office and Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s due diligence in this matter. We also recognize Johnny Manziel for thus far demonstrating the attributes necessary to continue his career in our great league. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Manziel hasn’t played football in two years but was one of the most dynamic college quarterbacks in the last quarter century when he won the 2012 Heisman Trophy (emblematic of the best college player in the U.S. that season) while playing at Texas A&M. He was just the fifth NCAA quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards, a combination of skills that seems tailored for the CFL game.

Manziel, now 25, was taken 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns but was released after just two seasons with the team. As happened at Texas A&M, Manziel had off-field issues during his time with the Browns. In January 2016, he had misdemeanour domestic abuse charges (involving his former girlfriend) dismissed, as long as he completed an anger management program, attended a domestic violence impact panel and participated in a substance-abuse program.

The Tiger-Cats worked him out in August and came away impressed with his skills. Vice-president Kent Austin said, Manziel, “has one of the single greatest highlight films of any college football player I’ve ever seen.” And June Jones, who took over from Austin as head coach in late August when the team was 0-8 (they finished 6-12), has also spoken highly of Manziel.

The Tiger-Cats hadn’t made him a contract offer when Manziel forced the issue by activating a 10-day CFL window in which Hamilton had to decide whether to sign, trade or release him. But Ambrosie extended that window until late November so he could evaluate Manziel’s situation, then extended the window again to January, before issuing his ruling with three days remaining in December.

Manziel met with Ambrosie and was told he would have to fulfil certain requirements to be eligible to sign in the CFL.

“As a result of this process, the commissioner has now informed Mr. Manziel and the Tiger-Cats he is prepared to approve a contract for Mr. Manziel should one be negotiated,” the CFL said in a statement released Thursday. “The process that led to this decision, however, will continue.

“Mr. Manziel has been informed he must continue to meet a number of conditions in order to remain eligible. These conditions, while extensive and exacting, remain confidential.”

The Tiger-Cats still have former No. 1 quarterback Zach Collaros under contract, but he is expected to be traded, while Jeremiah Masoli, who delivered an impressive final 10 games of the 2017 season as the starter, is eligible for free agency. Jones, who made Masoli his starter as one of his first acts, has made it clear he wants him back this year.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (243 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

14 Comments on Ticats cleared to sign Johnny Manziel, if the team wants

  1. Reminds me of the Character Johnny Drama in the now not in production HBO show Entourage

  2. Please, no!

  3. This guy will be fun to watch on a CFL field. Nothing to lose with signing this guy and a lot of up side. Hope he does well for himself and the league. Now the league needs to bring in Kapernick and RG3.

  4. Alex Droho // December 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm //

    Trade his rights please.

  5. I would sign Masoli and trade Collaros for a good QB prospect. Manziel would be a huge distraction.

  6. Tiger Chick // December 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm //

    To quote the Disney Movie Frozen “Let him go, Let him go”…….
    We don’t need Manziel. The TICAT management needs to get down to business (shi…. or get off the pot) and realize that they need to invest in the players they have. Johnny Football is a pipe dream, has been, old news, fake news. Focus on what works people.

  7. Tiger Chick you are clueless,Focus on what works? The Cats have not won a Dam thing in 18 plus seasons in a 8 or 9 team league.I think Collaros is a pretty good QB despite a poor season on a poor team that was poorly coached and Masoli looked decent under Coach Jones but they are Both turning 30 in August neither have won a Heisman Trophy or were NFL first round picks but what they have in common with Johnny Football is they both had Brushes with the Law!

  8. Johnny BE GOOD Manziel hopefully will end up in Montreal someway and somehow. Sherman finally gets his guy that he wanted to coach at Texas A&M and the excitement for the Als in Montreal goes thru the roof.

  9. Mark and notjoshsmith all you have to do is google search (Zach collaros university of Cincinnati back in court) not that Difficult guys even for a couple Tiger-Cat fans!Anyways minor charge problem was Zach was late to follow through with a court ordered program and the Judge threatened him with jail time.

    • Big deal – used fake ID to get into a bar at age 20 – he did the court ordered requirements – far from a criminal offence.

  10. Listen Mark I never said it was a big deal I stated both Collaros and Masoli had brushes with the Law, by the way using fake ID is a criminal offence but after the court ordered program was completed Zach has no record part of a plea deal.Manziel has no criminal record by the way after he completed his program!

  11. All signs points to MNF announcer Jon Gruden becoming the Raiders coach…again. Here are the tie ins to Manziel. Gruden lobbied the Raiders hard to draft Manziel. They took Derek Carr instead. Gruden was Manziels Personal QB coach after Manziel’s stint in Rehab in 2015. Gruden talks glowingly about Senior Futbol ala June Jones… Derek Carr became friends with Manziel on a pre draft TV reality show shoot. Carr has spoken highly of Manziel and thinks he should be back in the NFL. What does this all mean? I think Eric Burkhardt, Herr Fussball’s agent, will try to slow the process down and see if Gruden actually takes over the Raiders and then shows some interest to perhaps bring Manziel in as an extra Raiders camp arm. If no interest is there from the Raiders or any NFl team Johannes Fussball, I think, will take whatever he can get just to get on the field anywhere.

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