Johnny Manziel Instantly Becomes AAF’s Best Quarterback

Johnny Manziel Instantly Becomes AAF’s Best Quarterback article feature image

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Johnny Manziel

  • Johnny Manziel has signed with the AAF's Memphis Express. But can he turn his career around?
  • Ian Hartitz looks at what this means for Johnny Football, who is automatically the league's best QB.

Johnny Football is playing football in America again.

The AAF’s Memphis Express confirmed Saturday night that they signed the former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick after the San Antonio Commanders released his college allocation rights.

Manziel is expected to report to the Express on Sunday with a chance to seize the starting quarterback job.

  • Incumbent starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger left Saturday’s loss with a left ankle injury.
  • Backup Brandon Silvers has completed 26-of-41 (63%) passes for 264 yards (6.4 yards per attempt) with a touchdown, interception and a fumble.
  • Christian Hackenberg LOL.

It’s unclear just how good Manziel is now after failed stints in the NFL and CFL, but he’s instantly the AAF’s most accomplished signal-caller based on his domination at Texas A&M as well as his (brief) success as a professional.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t (necessarily) a lack of talent that has left Manziel unemployed for stretches of the past half decade.

After being released by the Browns in March 2016, Manziel was involved in a domestic abuse case and misdemeanor assault charge for most of that year and 2017. The former was dismissed in December 2016, and the latter was dismissed a year later. The legal issues prevented any team from taking a chance on him in 2016 and 2017, but those have since been fully cleared.

Manziel has noted in various interviews that his sense of entitlement and dependence on alcohol held him back during his two seasons with the Browns. He’s now reportedly taking medication for bipolar disorder and living a sober life in an attempt to regain his position in the NFL.

Still, it’s not exactly crystal clear why he was released from his CFL contract.

Here’s what Montreal Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said in a statement regarding Manziel’s release for apparently violating his contract:

“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.”

Manziel ended his CFL career with a 64% completion rate, 7.8 yards per attempt and five touchdowns … along with seven interceptions. The dual-threat quarterback chipped in 215 yards on just 29 carries, indicating he still has enough athleticism to make an impact on the game as a runner.

The artist formerly known as Johnny Football deserves a bit of slack for his lack of overwhelming success in the CFL considering the league is 12-on-12 action with funky motion rules and different field dimensions that combine to make the product fairly far removed from a typical American football game.

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