June Jones will coach the XFL Houston franchise. John Manziel possibly will be playing for it.
“I had Johnny in Hamilton,” Jones, who was named XFL Houston coach last week, recently said, via CBSSports.com. “I enjoyed the five or six weeks [with him]. . . . He played very good for me, actually. Johnny is an interesting guy. He’s competitive. He’s proven that he has won. He’s just been through a lot in the last three or four years. That’s kind of a league decision there, but definitely I assume that he’ll be in the draft pool. I assume that.”
The XFL hasn’t officially embraced Manziel, but the new league also hasn’t closed the door on him. Likewise, Manziel has yet to make it clear he’s willing to play in the latest upstart spring league, but with the NFL still not offering him a roster spot, he doesn’t have many options.
Jones’ latest comments are not quite the same endorsement that Jones gave to Manziel before coaching him in Canada, when Jones declared that Manziel eventually could be the best player to ever play in the CFL.
Ultimately, Manziel couldn’t secure playing time in Hamilton, given the presence and performance of starter Jeremiah Masoli. So the Tiger-Cats traded Manziel to Montreal.
The way things went for Manziel in Hamilton could make him less inclined to want to play for Jones again, but if Manziel accepts an offer to play in the XFL, it sounds as if he won’t get to pick his team. And if Jones picks Manziel, Manziel will have to set aside whatever hard feelings (if any) may linger from their shared time in Canada and show up in Houston and try to win the starting job — presumably without Jeremiah Masoli to contend with.