CFL Commissioner: Johnny Manziel Represented Himself 'Incredibly Well' in Talks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2017

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks with media members following the team's 30-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game, in Seattle. Manziel has been suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.The suspension announced Thursday, June 30, 2016, is not related to the NFL's domestic violence policy, but the free agent quarterback would be subject to it if he signs with another team. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie spoke highly of Johnny Manziel on Wednesday while reflecting on his meeting with the quarterback in September.

"He represented himself incredibly well [in the meeting]," Ambrosie said of Manziel, per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. "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."

The league has yet to approve Manziel, whose rights are owned by the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to play. It is undergoing an investigation of his past before making that decision. 

Manziel hasn't been in the NFL since the Cleveland Browns released him in March 2016. In two NFL seasons, he threw for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for 259 yards and another score.

His NFL career was littered with a number of off-field incidents, and the Browns released him amidst accusations of domestic violence. Manziel reached an agreement with prosecutors to dismiss those misdemeanor charges in Dec. 2016 in exchange for going through anger management training, attending a domestic violence panel and going through a substance abuse program. 

While Manziel had talks with NFL teams over the summer to return to the league, he found no takers, which caused him to turn to the CFL. In late September, the CFL released a statement saying Manziel would not be eligible to join the league in 2017 but that he would be "eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the Commissioner, the CFL will register that contract."

As for those conditions, Seifert noted "Ambrosie's meeting with Manziel was the start of a process in which he will speak to investigators about his checkered past." 

"If we reach a point where we make an announcement that someone can play, we want to be able to look to the community and say to them that we've done our work, that we have not skipped a step," Ambrosie said.

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