CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)

Johnny Manziel's return to professional football could be as early as this season

Is a Manziel return this season on the horizon or is this fool's gold?

If former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is serious about remaining in football, he may see a chance to return as early as this year.

Though it may not be quite what he would want.

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According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, Canadian Football League teams, specifically the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, are keeping an eye on the embattled passer. If he so chooses to take the CFL route, the Tiger-Cats would have the first opportunity to sign him. He could be within reach of landing there late this year or early 2017.

While bringing Manziel into the fold could generate tons of interest, not everyone is on board with Manziel joining the team, according to Marshall Ferguson, who serves as the Tiger-Cats' radio analyst.

Ferguson acknowledges that there would be about a 50-50 split of people who would want to see Manziel play for the team while "There are half that are all ages, all demographics, who would say, 'We don't need that guy and we don't care about him. He doesn't bring anything to the table that [current Hamilton quarterback] Zach Collaros doesn't bring.'"

All of this, of course, is contingent on Manziel making good on his promises of sobriety and him getting back in shape because you can't reasonably expect him to be in football shape having not seen a field since December.

Manziel has reportedly told other NFL players that he knows his best chance at getting back into the NFL may be through the CFL or the Arena Football League.

[h/t ESPN]