Johnny Manziel Ruled Eligible to Play in CFL; Rights Owned by Tiger-Cats

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2017

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Manziel's footwork, decision making and grasp of a pro offense improved significantly in his second season. But now that it is over, the Browns want him to concentrate on his off-field issues. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Thursday that quarterback Johnny Manziel has been ruled eligible to play in the CFL in 2018.

As seen in the following statement provided by's Jamie Thomas, it was determined by CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie that Johnny Football can play next season provided he meets the conditions set before him:

The Tiger-Cats currently have exclusive negotiating rights with Manziel.

A 10-day window was triggered for the Tiger-Cats to sign Manziel after he worked out for them in August, but Ambrosie extended the window before deciding against allowing him to play in the CFL in 2017, per's Kevin Seifert.

Despite ruling him ineligible for 2017, Ambrosie had positive things to say about Manziel with regard to the meeting he had with him in September, according to Seifert:

"He represented himself incredibly well [in the meeting]. He was thoughtful. I found him to be authentic and sincere. I also felt like he seems to have come to a good place in his life. He was talking a lot about his family. Now, I should say that's part of the problem. My bias is towards family. So when I'm with somebody in there talking about my family, immediately I feel good about the conversation.

"That's exactly why we feel for any player who has had some trouble in their past. It's important to not let the laypeople be the only part of the decision-making process. That's why we've implemented a process where we'll lean very heavily on experts who have training and skill that will allow them to really understand where somebody is in their personal journey and be able to give me wise counsel."

Manziel's brief NFL career was marred by off-field issues, including a domestic violence charge that was dropped.

The Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft after a standout collegiate career at Texas A&M that saw him win the Heisman Trophy.

In two seasons with the Browns, Johnny Football went 2-6 as a starter and finished with 1,675 passing yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions to go along with 259 rushing yards and one score.

Manziel hasn't played in a game since the Browns released him following the 2015 campaign.


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