He went from being the most exciting football player on the planet to washing out of the NFL, but Johnny Manziel has paid his dues, waited his turn and now will get another chance to play professional football.
The Montreal Alouettes announced that Manziel will start at quarterback for this Friday’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the team that traded the former Heisman trophy winner just over one week ago.
Friday will mark the first time Johnny Manziel has played in a professional football game since December 27, 2015 when his Cleveland Browns lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-13.
“I’ve tempered my expectations to not reach too high,” the 25-year-old quarterback told the Montreal Gazette last week. “I want to come in and I want to play solid football. That’s what I want to do. I realize there are going to be some growing pains to get there, because it is a process.”
The Alouettes, who are 1-5 on the season, have the worst record in the Canadian Football League and have scored only 92 points in six games — that’s the fewest in the league.
“We didn’t trade for Johnny to have him sit on the bench, so obviously, Johnny’s come over here to get reps and become the best player he can become, and we stated that process today,” Alouettes coach Mike Sherman said Monday, according to CBC Sports.
Sherman and Manziel reunite for the first time since 2011, when Sherman helped recruit Manziel to play at Texas A&M.
Manziel replaces former Oregon Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who was more than upset over hearing “We want Johnny!” chants during Montreal’s loss on Thursday night.
“I have nothing more to say or to give to the fans of Montreal,” Adams said. “Never again. Their behavior was very disrespectful. It was not like I was playing badly. I do not want them to ask me for anything, not even a small piece of equipment.”
After being the 22nd-overall pick in 2014, Manziel left the NFL after two tumultuous seasons with the Cleveland Browns, which brought to light deep-rooted issues with alcoholism and excessive partying. During the last game of 2015, Manziel sat with a concussion, but it later was revealed he spent the weekend in Las Vegas rather than with the team in Cleveland.
Manziel’s inability to stay clean ultimately landed him in a treatment facility, losing his Nike contract and getting fired by agent Drew Rosenhaus on the same day, and buried him deep down away from the public spotlight.
Now, the Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winner from 2012 is getting his chance at redemption.
Manziel was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in SEC history, setting records for total offense in a season and becoming the first quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in conference history.
Manziel owns the three highest totals for total yards in a game in SEC history — 576, 562 (against No. 1 Alabama) and 557 total yards of offense.
Imagine what he can do in the high-flying CFL?
Johnny Football is back, baby!