Johnny Manziel, Sean Payton Reportedly Discussed QB's Return to Football

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2017

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball during the second half of a football game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 30-13. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel reportedly spoke about the quarterback's return to football over breakfast during Super Bowl week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. 

Rapoport added:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

FA QB Johnny Manziel has kept a low-profile as he trains for a return. #Saints coach Sean Payton appears to have taken an interest in him.

Manziel, 24, was cut by the Browns in March 2016 after playing poorly for the team, combined with his legal issues and litany of off-field distractions. He still hasn't signed with a team and is facing a four-game suspension by the NFL when he returns for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Manziel's domestic violence case involving his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, is also still being reviewed by the league and could potentially lead to an additional suspension. Manziel will have the misdemeanor charge dismissed, however, so long as he goes to both anger management classes and a substance abuse program, among other conditions of the agreement.

On the field, the young quarterback was considered a dual-threat, gunslinging option coming into the league, though he threw for just 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions over 14 games in two years. He also rushed for 259 yards and another score. But he struggled making reads at the NFL level and remaining patient in the pocket, and his freelancing abilities that made him so exciting never quite translated to the NFL level.

Manziel didn't appear to be completely dedicated to his craft at the time either, however, a fact that certain teams may latch on to if they find his skill set appealing and want to give Manziel another chance in the league. Rapoport, for instance, could see Manziel fitting with New Orleans, albeit in a backup role: 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Saints still need a backup QB. Payton could make the most of Manziel’s talent. Drew Brees would be a perfect mentor. A lot makes sense.

From a football standpoint, the move could make sense. New Orleans and Bourbon Street certainly present no shortage of distractions for players, of course, but if Manziel is to return to the NFL, it will be because the team that gives him a second chance firmly believes his partying days are behind him.