Johnny Manziel ruled ineligible to play in CFL this season

The CFL announced Wednesday it won't approve a contract for former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel until next season, and only if the quarterback met certain conditions stipulated by commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

Tiger-Cats to retain former NFL QB's rights until Nov. 30

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel will not appear in a CFL game this season after commissioner Randy Ambrose wouldn't approve a contract for the former Heisman Trophy winner until next season, and only if Manziel meets certain conditions. (Scott Eklund/Canadian Press/File)

Johnny Manziel won't be kick-starting his pro football career in the CFL this season.

The CFL announced Thursday it won't approve a contract for the former Heisman Trophy winner until next season, and only if he met certain conditions stipulated by commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

"After an extensive process of due diligence and an in-person meeting with Mr. Manziel, the commissioner has decided that he will not register any contract for Mr. Manziel for this season," the league said in a statement. "However, Mr. Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the commissioner, the CFL will register that contract.

"The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed."

Manziel has been on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' 45-man negotiation list since his days at Texas A&M. The Ticats put the five-foot-11, 210-pound quarterback through a series of medical and physical tests Aug. 23-24 in Buffalo before team coaches and front-office personnel.

Kent Austin, Hamilton's vice-president of football operations, confirmed the testing Aug. 30 but said at the time the club wasn't interested in signing Manziel.

But according to a league source, Manziel's representatives told the Ticats on Sept. 2 they wanted a contract offer from the CFL club. So in accordance with CFL rules, Hamilton had 10 days to make a contract offer, trade Manziel's CFL rights or simply stand pat, which would've resulted in Manziel automatically coming off the franchise's list.

Domestic violence charge

An extension was granted —  Manziel will remaiin on the Ticats' negotiation list until Nov. 30, 2017 — in part to put in place a process for Manziel and future players who've faced allegations of violence against women in the past. The CFL had stipulated that Manziel would have to undergo an assessment with a domestic violence prevention official and meet with Ambrosie, who would then decide whether to approve the contract.

In January 2016, Manziel was charged after being accused of hitting and threatening a former girlfriend before reaching an agreement with prosecutors to dismiss the case.

Manziel captured the 2012 Heisman Trophy as U.S. college football's top player, becoming the first freshman ever to win the award. The Cleveland Browns took Manziel, affectionately dubbed Johnny Football, in the first round, No. 22 overall in the 2014 NFL draft.

But following two tumultuous seasons, the Browns released Manziel in March 2016 after he posted a 2-6 record as a starter.

If Manziel signs a CFL contract that's approved by Ambrosie it would cover two seasons, one year plus an option, meaning the earliest he could return to the NFL would be in time for the 2020 season.


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