Over the last seven years, the 26-year-old Johnny Manziel (not John, that didn’t last) has played football for Texas A&M, the Cleveland Browns, in the Spring League, in the CFL, and for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football.
If nothing else, you have to admire the man’s stick-to-itiveness. So the idea of him possibly playing for yet another league, the XFL, when it debuts (re-debuts?) in February of 2020, should surprise no one who follows football.
This is especially true when you take into consideration how much the head coach of the XFL’s Houston franchise, June Jones – who coached Manziel briefly in the CFL, where JFF was eventually banned – heaped praise on Johnny Football recently.
That being said, piquing the interest of one of the league’s coaches is one thing, getting the go-ahead from the XFL’s head honchos (like Vince McMahon) is another.
On Saturday, McMahon’s XFL mouthpiece, Commissioner Oliver Luck, addressed the possibility of Manziel playing for his fourth professional football league since 2015.
“Well, I don’t know that yet,” Luck told USA Today, when asked if the XFL would be interested in Manziel. “That remains to be seen.”
The XFL did not ask Manziel to participate in one of their invitation-only workouts currently being held in the league’s eight cities, but Luck says there’s a good reason for that.
“There are a lot of guys that played in the AAF and played all seven games or whatever they had. We didn’t invite them here because we’ve got enough tape on them,” said Luck. “So Johnny has some tape, right? Whether it’s Canada — and we have two coaches from the CFL, [Marc] Trestman and June Jones. Or there’s college. What he did obviously in the NFL.”
Out of the 800 or so players invited to the series of workouts, Luck believes the XFL will sign between 200 and 250 of them, with the rest of the rosters being filled out once NFL teams make their cuts and through the league’s draft, currently scheduled for October.
“A lot of this, you have to kind of look a little bit ahead and think about the kind of talent that we’ll have, right?” added Luck. “So last week in Dallas, Landry Jones participated. He just got cut from the Raiders. He was sort of in a battle for I guess the backup spot to Derek Carr, with Mike Glennon. So that might happen three or four times with others in similar situations. There’s a lot of good players in that league that very well could get cut. Like Landry. So we have to make sure we kind of keep that in mind as we think about how we structure our draft pool.”
One thing is for certain. If the XFL thinks they can go to market with guys like Landry Jones as one of their marquee players and not sign Johnny F**ing Football, it won’t take long for the internet to let them know that way of thinking is a mistake.