Quarterback Johnny Manziel, a former Heisman Trophy winner who fizzled in the N.F.L. and was kicked out of the Canadian Football League, signed with the Alliance of American Football on Saturday night and will join the Memphis Express.
Manziel’s rights belonged to San Antonio of the spring league, but that team declined to sign him and Manziel was then free to join any of the other seven clubs. He was awarded through the A.A.F.’s waiver system to the Express, who have a league-worst 1-5 record.
“We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we’ve always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers,” the Alliance co-founder Bill Polian said in a statement released by the league.
“We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at 5he Alliance.”
Manziel is expected to report to the Express on Sunday. “Welcome to the 901 @JManziel2,” the team wrote on its official Twitter page.
Welcome to the 901 @JManziel2
— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 17, 2019
Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner at Texas A&M, had his contract with the Montreal Alouettes terminated this off-season. The C.F.L. said that he violated his agreement with the league, but it has offered no specifics about the deal.
Before he entered into negotiations with the Hamilton Tiger Cats last March, Manziel had to agree to several strict provisions, presumably because he had a history of substance abuse and arrests, including one related to accusations that he had struck a former girlfriend.
Manziel, a first-round draft pick by Cleveland in 2014, totaled seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 14 games, including eight starts, with the Browns, who released him in March 2016
He was 2-6 as a starter with the Alouettes last season, completing 106 of 165 passes (64.2 percent) for 1,290 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 215 yards on 29 carries as Montreal (5-13) missed the C.F.L. playoffs.
The Express are an AAF-worst 1-5 and just saw former LSU star and NFL QB Zach Mettenberger go down with an ankle injury. While the team does have former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg on the roster, he’s already been benched once, and didn’t get into Saturday’s game when Mettenberger went down (Brandon Silvers got the call).
With contributions from The Associated Press and USA Today