That was quick. A little over nine months to be exact. That’s the amount of time that Johnny Manziel graced the CFL with his presence and called Canada his home. A remarkably short tenure by anyone’s definition, but in a lot of ways it felt so much longer than that.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the former Heisman trophy winner prior to his time in the CFL. From early speculation of Manziel joining the CFL, to signing in Hamilton, to being traded to Montreal- there has never been a shortage of intrigue and drama around the former Texas A&M star. Like it or not, Manziel was a story in Canada and brought some interest to the CFL from the football folks south of the border also.
However, eventually all good things must come to an end. Yesterday, the Montreal Alouettes released the following statement in regard to the release of Johnny Manziel:
The Montreal Alouettes announced on Wednesday that the organization has been directed by the @CFL to terminate the player contract of international quarterback Johnny Manziel. More info : https://t.co/jKFbOrgsxA
— Alouettes de Montréal (@MTLAlouettes) February 27, 2019
It is clear from the release outlined above that the CFL determined Johnny Manziel violated his agreement with the CFL. While the violation was not disclosed, one might assume this isn’t the last we have heard of this story.
It would be unfathomable for the league to direct the Alouettes to release a player without the grounds to do so. Further to that, the fact that no other CFL team is allowed to sign the player speaks volumes to the seriousness of the violation. For all intents and purposes, Manziel has been barred from playing football in the CFL.
It is likely that Johnny football will now turn his attention to American football specifically in the AAF (Alliance of American Football) league. If Manziel ends up going the AAF route, he would be sent to play for the San Antonio Commandors. However, due to the nature of his release from the CFL, it is not automatic that the AAF will even accept him.
One thing is for certain, it will be interesting to see how this story plays out and ultimately ends.
Alouettes Are Moving On
Even with the release of Manziel, the Alouettes will still have several quarterbacks coming to training camp in a few months.
In the current state, quarterback Antonio Pipkin appears to be the front runner for the starting role. Pipkin played in 6 games in 2018 completing 78 out of 131 passes for 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Pipkin certainly struggled in some areas last season, however, he did earn the respect of his teammates through his play. Through experience and attention to detail, Pipkin has the potential to emerge as a bona fide starter in the CFL.
Matthew Shiltz, Jeff Mathews, and Vernon Adams round out the other quarterbacks who will compete for playing time in 2019. Between these four quarterbacks, a healthy training camp competition could result in the emergence of a star.
The Last Word
The Montreal Alouettes now begin life after Johnny Manziel. While Manziel showed some flashes of promise, he certainly wasn’t the saviour this franchise was hoping for last season. It appears as though the Alouettes are comfortable heading into training camp with the pivots mentioned above.
General Manager Kavis Reed had this to say in a statement in regard to Manziel and moving forward:
“We are disappointed by this turn of events. Johnny was provided a great deal of support by our organization, in collaboration with the CFL, but he has been unable to abide by the terms of his agreement. “We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.”
“We are confident going into the 2019 training camp with a roster of quarterbacks that had played in our system last year and are committed to our team.”
Like the player or not, Manziel generated excitement within the CFL and beyond. He drew a lot of attention to the CFL, albeit for a short time, to those that may have never seen the Canadian game before. Good, bad, or indifferent- Johnny football will always be a small piece of Canadian Football history.
But now it’s next man up.
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