Johnny Canadian Football: Manziel says he has signed with CFL's Tiger-Cats

To be fair, when Johnny Manziel said on NFL draft night that he was going to “wreck this league,” he didn’t say which league.

Manziel is back in football. The former Cleveland Browns’ first-round pick who last played in the NFL in 2015, signed with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he said on Twitter. He said it’s for “what looks like two years.” He said he missed playing football, and that’s why he signed.

With that, the CFL became more interesting this season.

A long road back

Manziel flamed out spectacularly in the NFL. He was admittedly not prepared to be a pro quarterback, and created many more headlines off the field than he made plays on the field. Manziel said he has stopped drinking and now takes medication for bipolar disorder.

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That still didn’t mean the NFL was ready to welcome him back. Manziel has been touting his comeback through social media for a while. But The path back to the NFL wasn’t going to be that easy, as he got no real interest. He had to go and prove himself again, and the CFL might be perfect for that.

See Manziel since he last played football: 

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Johnny Manziel since he last appeared in the NFL
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Johnny Manziel since he last appeared in the NFL
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: NFL player Johnny Manziel in attendance during the UFC 196 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Cleveland Browns Quarterback Johnny Manziel attends a game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals at STAPLES Center on March 09, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
27 December 2015: Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws a pass during the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The Chiefs defeated the Browns 17-13. (Photo by James Allison/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by James Allison/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
PALM SPRINGS, CA - APRIL 17: Johnny Manziel attends REVOLVE Desert House on April 17, 2016 at on April 17, 2016 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/FilmMagic)
Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is shown in this combination police booking photos in Dallas County, Texas, United States on May 4, 2016. Courtesy Highland Park Texas Department of Public Safety/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel makes a court appearance at the Frank Crowley Courts Building on May 5, 2016 in Dallas. Manziel reported to court Thursday for the first time since a Dallas County grand jury indicted him last month on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Former girlfriend Colleen Crowley has accused him of kidnapping, hitting and threatening to kill her in January. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel is seen on June 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Wilbur/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Johnny Manziel is seen on September 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 29: Johnny Manziel is seen on August 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Diana Tran, Nick Tershay and Johnny Manziel attend PUMA X Diamond Supply Launch Event on January 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for PUMA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Johnny Manziel is seen on February 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Johnny Manziel attends ChaCha The Wave And Jamie Foxx Foundation's 1st Annual Charity Celebrity Basketball Game at Private Residence on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tara Ziemba/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Johnny Manziel is seen on March 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Johnny Manziel is seen on March 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
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CFL’s game should fit Manziel’s style

While Manziel has become a punch line over the years, he’s also one of the most exciting players in college football history. His free-wheeling style was perfect for Texas A&M, and it should translate well to the larger CFL field too. That’s assuming he hasn’t lost most of his skills during a long layoff. However, it’s also easy to see Manziel, assuming he’s focused and in shape, doing the same things on a CFL field that helped win him a Heisman Trophy.

The CFL has been interested in Manziel for a while. First, he should be a box-office draw. Even though Manziel hasn’t played in the NFL in almost three years, he’s still one of the most famous names (or, perhaps infamous is more accurate) in professional football. Also, if he plays like he did at Texas A&M and for brief flashes with the Browns, he should be a very good player in that league.

The Tiger-Cats’ preseason opener is June 1. Their regular-season opener is June 16 against Calgary.

The NFL will be watching

NFL teams have not been fighting to get Manziel into a camp. NFL teams watched Manziel at a couple college pro days this offseason, but that story got overblown. He was asked by college players if he could throw to them during their workouts. It’s not like NFL teams were there just to see him. However, the teams were there and got to see he has been working out. They’ll keep eyes on his CFL games to see if he can still make the plays that led to him being a first-round pick. The NFL has plenty of unexciting quarterbacks on the back ends of rosters; Manziel could prove to be an upgrade. But he has to prove he’s worth their time, on and off the field.

Manziel has a long way to go to get back in the NFL, because the truth is he wasn’t good enough to be worth the headaches. But there had to be a legitimate first step toward rehabilitating his career, and the CFL might be perfect for that.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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