Watch Highlights of Johnny Manziel's AAF Debut for the Memphis Express

Megan ArmstrongContributor IIIMarch 25, 2019

Memphis Express quarterback Johnny Manziel throws to a receiver during warms ups before an AAF football game against the Birmingham Iron, Sunday, March 24, 2019, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

Johnny Manziel debuted in the Alliance of American Football on Sunday night, his third professional football league, as the quarterback of the Memphis Express.

Down 16-8 to the Birmingham Iron with 7:12 left in the second quarter, Manziel replaced starting quarterback Brandon Silvers. His first AAF play looked a lot like what used to be the norm for him as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M as he scrambled for a 13-yard gain.

The Alliance @TheAAF

HERE'S JOHNNY. @JManziel2 now under center for the @aafexpress on @nflnetwork 📺. https://t.co/0FWDaDh5BE

On the same drive, the 2014 No. 22 overall selection of the Cleveland Browns hit Express wide receiver Alton "Pig" Howard down the sideline for a 36-yard gain and his first AAF completion.

Memphis Express @aafexpress

Johnny Manziel’s first completion as a member of the Express. #BHMvsMEM | #AllAboard https://t.co/S017L3PHm5

Silvers played the majority of the second half and led the Express to a 31-25 overtime comeback, but Manziel was good for another impressive completion to wide receiver Reece Horn. Manziel ended the night with three completions on five attempts for 48 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Express acquired Manziel on March 16 when he signed a player contract with the AAF. The Express claimed Manziel off waivers.

"This league is exactly what a lot of guys needed," Manziel said at his introductory press conference, per the Express. "There's a limited amount of opportunities and reps you get in the NFL or elsewhere."

Manziel will have to fight for his opportunity in Memphis as Silvers made a strong case to maintain the starting job on Sunday night.


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