Why hasn’t the XFL pursued Johnny Manziel?

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The first day of the XFL draft resulted in plenty of players with recognizable names joining the resurrected spring league. But none of them were named Johnny Manziel, who remains available to play football but not part of the XFL. Yet.

Manziel has expressed an interest in playing for the Houston Roughnecks. In June, XFL Commisioner Oliver Luck said that it “remains to be seen” whether the XFL has interest in Manziel.

If the goal is to drive interest, why wouldn’t the XFL be interested? Manziel moves the needle, far more than any of the other players who have signed up.

Manziel briefly joined the AAF, and it’s possible that his decision to join the league that was poised to compete with the XFL has caused the XFL to sour on him. That would be foolish, however, given that the AAF has gone the way of the dodo bird.

The XFL’s primary goal is to avoid the same fate. Already, the decision to pay players less than what the XFL had previously been expected to pay (due to the absence of competition in the form of the AAF) has caused some to wonder whether the XFL will be as legitimate and serious as it originally was believed to be. Although Vince McMahon seems to be willing to spend (waste) millions in an effort to make it work, he may be realizing that spring football is simply destined to not work.

Football works best during football season. And the XFL should be playing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the autumn months, not weekends in the spring.

But since the XFL is poised to go forward in the spring of 2020, the XFL should do whatever it can to maximize interest. Manziel would do that. The sooner they add him to a team, the sooner the XFL will build the buzz that it sorely is lacking.