Quarterback Johnny Manziel wants to get back to the NFL. He apparently realizes that, before he can get there, he’ll need to show that he can thrive in a lesser league.
And so he reportedly has worked out with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, according to the Hamilton Spectator. The workout, if it happened, violates CFL rules, because the Hamilton Tiger-Cats hold Manziel’s exclusive negotiating rights. (The Roughriders denied that a workout occurred.)
“The rules regarding the [negotiating list] are outlined in our by-laws,” a league official said, per the report. “A team has exclusive rights to a player on their [negotiating list]. Therefore that player could not be contacted by, worked out by, or negotiate with another club unless consent is given.”
Coincidentally, Browns left tackle Joe Thomas suggested in a Thursday appearance on PFT Live that his former teammate may have to go to the Arena Football League or the CFL in order to get back to the NFL.
“Well, it’s going to be a tough road for him,” Thomas said. “He’s made his job tough on himself I think with all the antics over the years and the number of opportunities that the Browns have given him and other teams have given him, and he’s squandered each one of them. So I think at this point teams are going to say, ‘Hey, prove to me that you can be on the straight and narrow somewhere else before I give you a chance with my team.’ So I think that’s kind of where he is. He needs to prove himself in the Arena League or in the CFL, not necessarily that he has the talent but that he can keep his nose clean and that he can show up for work consistently for maybe a full season.”
That’s apparently what Manziel plans to do. Even if his initial foray to CFL may have been as clunky as most of his time in the NFL.