XFL’s interest in Johnny Manziel “remains to be seen”

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Johnny Manziel is interested in playing for the XFL. But is the XFL interested in Manziel?

Well, I don’t know that yet,” XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck told Tom Schad of USA Today over the weekend. “That remains to be seen.”

The fact that Manziel didn’t receive an invitation to one of the currently-ongoing XFL showcases doesn’t mean the league won’t pursue signing him.

“There are a lot of guys that played in the AAF and played all seven games or whatever they had,” Luck said. “We didn’t invite them here because we’ve got enough tape on them. So Johnny has some tape, right? Whether it’s Canada — and we have two coaches from the CFL, [Marc] Trestman and June Jones. Or there’s college. What he did obviously in the NFL.”

The hesitation to embrace Manziel seems ultimately to trace to the quality of quarterbacks the XFL may target.

“[Y]ou have to kind of look a little bit ahead and think about the kind of talent that we’ll have, right?” Luck said. “So last week in Dallas, Landry Jones participated. He just got cut from the Raiders. He was sort of in a battle for I guess the backup spot to [Derek] Carr, with Mike Glennon. So that might happen three or four times with others in similar situations.

“There’s a lot of good players in that league that very well could get cut. Like Landry. So we have to make sure we kind of keep that in mind as we think about how we structure our draft pool.”

In other words, Manziel isn’t currently on an NFL roster. Players who currently are on NFL rosters will be released from NFL rosters between now and Labor Day weekend, when rosters plunge from 90 to 53. As previously explained, the XFL could immediately target some of the quarterbacks who are cut, persuading them to commit to the XFL, remove themselves from the pool of injury-replacement options for the full NFL season, and use them for marketing purposes through the February cicada-style relaunch of the XFL.

But here’s the thing: Johnny Manziel moves the needle. Landry Jones doesn’t. Other third- and fourth-string NFL quarterbacks don’t. If the XFL wants to thrive, it needs to create or to attract star players. Manziel is far closer to being a star player than Landry Jones or any other eventually-to-be-former-NFL quarterback, barring the unexpected release of someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Ryan Tannehill.

Even then, Manziel would be a bigger draw. If the XFL wants to succeed (and it will be an uphill climb because too many people simply don’t want spring football), it needs Manziel in the league.

29 responses to “XFL’s interest in Johnny Manziel “remains to be seen”

  1. Why do people even keep talking about Manziel? They guy was bad at football. He was lucky in college, and has failed at every level of the professional game in multiple countries now. Nobody is excited to see him play. If anything, people are excited to see him fail again.

  2. The XFL needs to make money and that happens when folks watch on TV and pay for tickets to come to games along with purchasing team merchandise. Only way that happens is if the quality of football is very good, you have folks playing that people will want to tune in to watch and support, you have interesting story lines that drive viewers. The XFL, unlike the last league, will probably have the funding needed to go on several seasons which is a huge plus. If you sign a Manziel, folks will tune in for a game or two only, unless he plays well and then folks will continue to tune in. Key is, can he play well enough to keep folks coming back to watch….

  3. “and it will be an uphill climb because too many people simply don’t want spring football”

    That remains to be seen. It has nothing to do with people not wanting spring football as it does witg there having to be a draw for spring football. That could come from star players(well stars for a spring league), gambling and/or fantasy football. In time people will get behind their hometown team or a team they follow but initially there has to be some type of connection and that’s not going to happen on day 1 or even year 1.

  4. No reason to sign him until the last minute,give him incentive to keep his act together for as long as possible before you take the risk….Luck’s no dummy

  5. ” too many people simply don’t want spring football”…..I would love me some Spring Football!!

  6. I know of no one who “simply doesn’t want spring football”. I’ve never heard anyone say that except for sports bloggers who throw it around like it’s a well known and widely accepted truth. People may be ambivalent about it and may not give it much attention but that’s different from being opposed to it.

  7. If anyone running the XFL thinks they need more guys like Landry Jones and less guys like Johnny Manziel, we won’t have to worry about that league being around very long.

  8. I think spring football can be successful if the product on the field is a good one.

    As for Manziel, I am not sure I would put him in the star category anymore. Sure he was at one point but now he is closer to a washed up star who’s name doesn’t move the needle as many think.

  9. The XFL needs a good product to be successful. Retread-rehab hasbeens that never were are not the answer to putting a good product on the field.

  10. well a novelty league will some some novelty names and players …….. after all money fingers is rather quickly running outta leagues huh …. so if he craps outta here is the arena thing still around before finally putting the playing career into the ground ???

  11. The last place Manziel should be is Texas where he can get away with anything as long as he is wealthy and a big football star. Affluenza was legalized in Texas for spoiled guys like him.

  12. I don’t see much of a future in football for this man even the XFL is interested. “Johnny Football” is soon going to be “Johnny Hamburger Flipper”.

  13. I want spring football. Phew! It feels great to get that off my chest.

  14. As a former Heisman Trophy winner with name recognition and the ability to “sell tickets” to a fledgling league, sooner or later the XFL will come calling Johnny Football’s name.

  15. Who cares, all leagues are better without him. His Daddy will take care of him. Hopefully helping him deal with his issues. BUT this kid is not a rags to riches story and the fan based should forget about him.

  16. Before sleep most nights Jerry thinks “if Johnny Had a star on his helmet I could sell more over priced beer and hot dogs.

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