Johnny Manziel

USA Today

Manziel Gets Booted From Entire League

The CFL has informed all of its clubs that it will not register a contract for the former Texas A&M pivot.

February 28, 2019 - 10:34 am

And in the least surprising news ever, it was announced that Johnny Manziel was parting ways with the Montreal Alouettes. Actually, the more accurate description was that they were parting ways with him. And even more accurate than that, it was that he’d been kicked the hell out of the CFL. 

The following was reported on the CFL website: Less than a year after signing his first CFL contract, Johnny Manziel’s tenure in Canada has come to an end. The Montreal Alouettes have released the international quarterback based on the direction of the Canadian Football League after it was found that Manziel had contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league.

The CFL has informed all of its clubs that it will not register a contract for the former Texas A&M pivot should any club attempt to sign him.

Let me jump in here to point out that this isn’t a team giving up on him, but an entire league banning him.

So just to recap – a league that really wants eyeballs and buzz in America just booted the guy most likely to give them eyeballs and buzz in America. Sucks for them. And sucks even more for the quote, pivot they just broke off.

So, where do we go from here? Frankly, I’m almost more interested in where the Alouettes go than I am in where Manziel goes. I mean…the hell does Montreal do at the pivot? And how do we get American teams to start referring to quarterbacks as pivots? 

In terms of Manziel, it’s not totally clear what he did that violated his agreement with the league and the league isn’t saying anything publicly either.  

Back in June, Manziel told USA Today that the agreement included monthly Lithium tests, mandatory doctor visits, and weekly appointments with a therapist. He might have violated one of those requirements or something else. But what’s clear is that it was enough to not just get him released from Montreal, but from an entire league and an entire country. As Al Davis was so fond of saying, THE PIVOT MUST GO DOWN. AND HE MUST GO DOWN HAAD!

THE PIVOT THEN hopped on twitter to give his spin:

‘I want to thank Coach Sherman, my teammates, and the CFL fans. My time there reestablished my love for the game of football and the work that goes into it. I look forward to exploring new options within the United States.’

Of course he looks forward to exploring new options in the United States. Because the options in Canada are over. 

Just to break down that tweet a little more – he was in a situation where he was being coached by someone he knew, Mike Sherman. He was in a situation that supposedly “reestablished my love for the game of football and the work that goes into it” and he still couldn’t make it 12 months on an agreement with the league. 

I know Manziel is dealing with a lot of issues. Substance issues. Mental health issues. And that time he was indicted for assaulting his girlfriend that everyone seems to forget about.

He has talked openly about those issues. They are serious and they are big. They are much bigger than football and much more important than football. He hasn’t been particularly good at football, so maybe this is a chance for him to focus on being a person. And getting right in that regard. 

Oh, and there’s another issue too: the football issue. Turns out he’s not very good at it. He was 2-6 as a starter in Cleveland. He played in 14 games in the NFL and managed seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Bad numbers for any pivot, much less a pivot taken in the first round. 

Hell…He had more picks than touchdowns with Montreal last year. And the Alouettes were his second CFL team. Before that he was in Hamilton. And worse than that, he was sitting behind Jeremiah Masoli in Hamilton. 


When was the last time you heard his name? And yet he was pivot 1, was starting ahead of Johnny Manziel. 

Don’t get me wrong. I know that Masoli is a great CFL pivot, but with respect, come on. Even the hardest of the hard-core Manziel fans have to say, that’s not a great look. 

I know Manziel has some charisma, and IT and that people still think about that game against Alabama. And that he’s really good at marketing himself and people keep taking that bait. But let’s be real. He won his Heisman Trophy in 2012. That was a long time ago. And a lot of teams ago. And just about nothing has gone well since then. 

The Johnny Manziel you’re looking at now is the guy who bombed out of Cleveland, the guy who was a lousy quarterback and a worse teammate, the guy who was arrested for domestic violence, the guy who threw more picks than touchdowns in the CFL, the guy who backed up Jeremiah Masoli, and the guy who couldn’t last 12 months on an agreement with the league. 

So again, tell me why it would be smart for a league here to sign him. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a league won’t bring him in. They’ll say that they are a league that believes in second chances and that Manziel has said all the right things, etcetera etcetera. Maybe he'll come up with a new hashtag and some new t-shirts. 

But unless something has radically changed, he probably won't come up with some great football. Or even good football. 

I’m not saying that a league won’t bring him in. There are leagues looking for headlines. But just check most of the headlines about Manziel. And then look at what that says about you and your league. What it says is, we’re here for guys that aren’t that good at football, and even worse at life