Johnny Manziel will continue his comeback north of the border in the Canadian Football League.
Manziel announced Saturday on Twitter that he has decided to sign his contract with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who own the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s rights.
Made the decision today to sign my contract with the CFL and further my football career after a long break. Very grateful for everyone that’s been supporting me along the way. I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I’m eager for what the future holds.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) May 19, 2018
The Tiger-Cats announced later Saturday that Manziel signed a two-year deal.
“It’s going to be a learning curve,” Manziel said in an interview with Barstool Sports. “I think it’ll be fun. It’s definitely not the NFL, but there have been guys who’ve gone up there and have come back.
“A lot more [at] the quarterback position that have done it back in the day than they have done it more recently, but still there’s been guys who’ve recently come back and forth all the time.”
The Tiger-Cats open their training camp Sunday, and their preseason opener is June 1.
“We’re excited to add Johnny Manziel to our roster, particularly getting it done now so that Johnny can join his new teammates and the coaching staff for a full training camp,” Hamilton head coach June Jones said in a statement released by the team. “We feel like we’ve got an excellent group of quarterbacks, and the addition of Johnny only improves our football team in our pursuit of the ultimate goal, which is to win a Grey Cup Championship.”
Manziel was released by the Cleveland Browns in March 2016 and did not play organized football in 2017. He played in the developmental Spring League last month.
“The consensus that I’ve got from talking to people around the NFL is even if you come back to the league, you’re not getting a chance to start anywhere right away; you’re not going to get a chance to really play other than a couple preseason games and here and there,” he said Saturday. “So the thing that I got from everyone was, ‘You need to just go play, get some reps under your belt, get a chance to go play real live football again wherever that may be.'”
Manziel, 25, announced in February that he would attempt a return to football, also revealing that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He added that he has stopped drinking, saying that he had used alcohol as a way of “self-medicating” as he battled depression.
In 2016, a domestic assault charge against Manziel in Dallas was dismissed after he took anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance-abuse program.
The CFL said Manziel has met conditions set by the league, announcing that his contract with Hamilton has been approved.
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M in 2012, becoming the first freshman to claim the award. The Browns chose him in the first round of the NFL draft in 2014, but he was out of the league after two unremarkable seasons.