Johnny Manziel may be finished in the NFL, at least for the time being. Although if the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback ever manages to pull himself together, the Canadian Football League will be there.
At least, the CFL would consider Manziel’s case, this according to commissioner Jeffrey Orridge, who spoke to Kevin Seifert for ESPN.com. Obviously, much of the decision to allow the former first-round draft pick to sign and play in the league would boil down to whether all of his affairs are in order, but Orridge did not rule it out.
“We try not to speculate on situations like that,” Orridge told ESPN on Friday, “and I really can’t speculate too much on hypotheticals. But I can tell you that what’s paramount to us is ensuring the success of an athlete, while at the same time preserving and promoting the integrity of the league and the game.”
Manziel has been having public battles with drug and alcohol addiction, which no doubt is at least partly to blame for his failure to make it in the NFL. Further complicating matters are legal issues stemming from an alleged case of domestic violence.
As of right now, Manziel is radioactive. He couldn’t help a football team in any professional league even if one would take him. Were the Texas A&M legend to seek help for his addiction issues and resolve and legal problems, however, at that point the CFL might be in a position to advise its clubs how to proceed.
“I rely primarily on the assessment of the team,” Orridge said. “It is their charge to evaluate the talent and to bring that talent forward. To be candid, if there is a situation that we believe warrants additional input, we certainly want to provide that to the team. We’re obviously charged with making sure that the integrity of the league and the integrity of our brand is perpetuated.”
For the CFL, this is a no-brainer. Manziel is one of the most popular college athletes of all-time, and it would bring a ton of exposure and possibly new fans to the sport.
It might be a no-brainer for Manziel as well if he ever reaches a point where playing pro football is a consideration. Not entirely unlike college, the Canadian game is built for a quarterback with his abilities to showcase his talent.
As far as using that as a springboard back into the NFL, never say never, although not all of Manziel’s struggles at that level can be blamed on drugs or alcohol or the fact that he played for the Browns.