It’s time to stop talking about Johnny Manziel

The possibility of Johnny Manziel signing with a CFL team has led to the former Texas A&M star becoming a hot topic for media outlets across the country. There has been some legitimate news about his status — first with the triggering of his ten-day clause, followed by an increase of trade interest around the league — but a lot of the hype around Manziel is, frankly, irrelevant.

Six months ago, Manziel was simply a washed-up college football star with the CFL as his lone remaining option to play pro ball. Today, Manziel is a washed-up college football star with the CFL as his lone remaining option to play pro ball.

Where’s the story?

I understand the desire to generate headlines, but there’s little regarding Manziel worth reporting at this point in time. It’s all sizzle and no steak.

For me, the most newsworthy nugget pertaining to Manziel is that teams north of the border are interested in his services at all. Manziel’s natural talent was enough to succeed in the NCAA, a level at which he competed against a few dozen future professionals. The CFL is comprised exclusively of professionals, many of whom have spent years studying the nuances and intricacies of the Canadian game. They’re entirely different worlds.

Manziel couldn’t be bothered to adequately learn the Browns’ playbook while making millions in Cleveland. What makes anyone think he’ll learn a CFL offence while earning a five-figure salary?

It’s possible Canadian teams don’t want Manziel for his play. Perhaps the real reason teams are jockeying for Manziel’s CFL rights is the economic windfall that would accompany Johnny Football’s arrival north of the border. Manziel’s presence would provide a boost in media coverage for whichever CFL team he joined, drawing extra fans to games and selling extra jerseys.

This is both foolhardy and shameful. Manziel fans would soon grow tired of watching the former Heisman Trophy winner sit on the bench. They’d demand to see him play and stop showing up to games when one of two inevitable scenarios eventually played out — Manziel never sees the field or does and fails in spectacular fashion.

Any objective person can see why Manziel would fail in the CFL. Even ignoring his plethora of off-field issues — the alleged domestic assault, drug use, drinking, and smoking among them — one fundamental truth about Manziel undermines any success he might have in Canada.

Johnny Manziel doesn’t want to play in the CFL.

Manziel sees the CFL as nothing more than the quickest route back to the NFL. This is true of many American football players, sure — kids from south of the border dream of winning Super Bowls, not Grey Cups — but there’s one key difference.

Most players who succeed in the CFL enjoy long careers north of the border if the NFL never comes calling. Would Manziel — a person who’s already worth a reported 4-million dollars — be willing to grind out a long-term career in Canada if the NFL never expressed interest in taking him back?

More than a hundred players are on CFL practice rosters right now, most of whom earn no more than $600 per week. These men aren’t motivated by fame or lavish endorsement deals — these are football players who are doing everything in their power to make the most of their careers.

They grind. Manziel doesn’t.

Is it possible that Johnny Manziel reforms himself, matures, and reaches his true potential en route to CFL stardom? I suppose it’s not impossible, the same way that I could potentially reach my goal weight by Christmas. Sadly, at this point in time, neither of these scenarios are anything more than fantasies.

Because Manziel inevitably sees the CFL as many college stars do — a chump league comprised of players who couldn’t cut it elsewhere. Manziel, like countless others before him, is in for a rude awakening should he ever play in Canada. Whether on a sack by Charleston Hughes, an open-field tackle by Solomon Elimimian or an interception by Chris Randle, Manziel would quickly learn that the CFL is full of great players who don’t take their success for granted. Sustained success up north takes talent, hard work, determination, and drive. Immediate success is exceptionally rare.

And without immediate success, there’s no NFL bid.

And without an NFL bid, there’s no reason for Johnny Manziel to try the CFL.

And without a reason for Manziel to try the CFL, there’s no reason to talk about him.

John Hodge

John Hodge

John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.
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John Hodge
About John Hodge (293 Articles)
John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.

57 Comments on It’s time to stop talking about Johnny Manziel

  1. Lancaster/Reed // September 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm //

    And yet, here you are talking about him. Lol.
    Totally agree with the article though. Little johnny has had an easy life, rich parents, some natural ability as a football player, so hes never really had to work hard at anything. He would never put in enough actual work to learn the cfl game, let alone the playbook. My cat sleeps 20 hrs a day, but still has a better work ethic than johnny.

  2. onemoredork // September 16, 2017 at 12:15 pm //

    What is interesting in all of this is how the CFL is making up rules as they go to control this system of dishonest ownership of players rights to play in the league.

    I’m not for the league to let low life like Manziel, Briles and Tillman be employed in this country and this league but it is time for a player to take the league to court over this neg list BS.

    League needs to become more transparent.

    • Lancaster/Reed // September 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm //

      Yeah, the secrecy around the neg list has always been a head scratcher.

      • If your going to say that I hope you’ll say the NFL is a thousand times worse with who they employ !!!

      • I used to think that the neg lists should be made public, until this Manziel situation occurred. Here’s why they should be secret.

        Team A’s General Manager is unscrupulous and hates Team B who has made their list public. The General Manager illegally approaches all 30 players on Team B’s neg list to express interest. All 30 players approach Team A to demand a contract offer. Team A is now forced to sign all 30 players or lose the rights to them.

    • How exactly is the CFL’s negotiation list process a “dishonest ownership of players rights to play in the league”? Please explain.

      • i do not see it as dishonest. i think it is a restraint of trade issue. players do not get to market themselves to the whole field; they are arbitrarily and artificially limited to one market and purchaser. i would think that could successfully be argued.

        • It’s no different than a player draft. They are both set up to control player costs. The CFL has had many lean years and must keep costs under control.

          As a fan, higher salaries mean higher ticket prices. CFL ticket prices are high enough already.

    • You have no idea what you are talking about. As a lifelong Browns fan I followed every story. His second year QB coach said he has a photographic memory like Lebron. Current 49ers head coach was Johnnies OC at the Browns and is on record saying he worked hard and did everything that was expected of him Football wise.

      • CanuckDomer // September 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm //

        They said this…then complained that he didn’t show up for practice or game when injured at the end of the season…they talked out of both sides of their mouths for Manziel’s entire time in Cleveland…he is a punk and has no interest in acting like a professional football player…

  3. Can see Manziel played by the late actor James Dean with a bright red sports car.All the girls crying out “Johnny, dear Johnny.He could’ve been a star”.Johnny open-eyed staring out from Hamilton mountain.

  4. white stallion in red // September 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm //

    I’ve said for months. It’s a waste signing these types. Any team doing so show their ineptitude and unprofessionalism. Same as Vince Young

  5. I agree, we should stop talking about him. So no one should read this headline article, or post here either.

  6. This article should have ended at the headline.

  7. white stallion in red // September 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

    Until it course he signs with the riders. At which point well here nothing exept how great he is and how brilliant Jones was for bring him in.

  8. solara 2000 // September 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm //

    One word comment “Amen!”

  9. Ronnie Football // September 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm //

    John Hodge you make many assertions in your silly editorial that is borderline libel. How do you know what Johnny Manziel thinks & feels clown ?!? Did you actually speak to the man. Oh, maybe you’re part of his inner circle !?! Or maybe you thought this rubbish up while drinking a beer at your local hole bar. Maybe much of what you wrote could have been said about Doug Flutie, who know the guy who used the CFL to get back into the NFL. Where’s the story Mr. Hodge?!? John Manziel won the Heisman and was a former 1st round NFL draft pick … I guess that all happened because he lacked talent. Eric Tillman is in record saying that Johnny Football has the potential to be elite in the CFL. I guess you k ow more than the Heisman votes, NFL scouts and Mr. Tillman. Your mindset is obviously fixed and implies that individuals cannot change. Your article is, as you say, “foolhardy and shameful”.

    • CanuckDomer // September 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm //

      Sorry Ronnie…but Hodge is simply summarizing what has been written by MANY that know what Manziel is like and how he has acted while employed as a “professional football player.”

      Couple points: Maybe Tillman is right…but the same could be said for many QBs that came up here…Vince Ferragamo with Montreal…Troy Smith with Montreal…Andre Ware with Ottawa…Tim Rosenbach with Hamilton…Akili Smith with Calgary…they all fell flat on their faces, and all admitted not taking the league seriously…and all but Smith had worked hard on their games, UNLIKE your namesake…

      And look at the list of QBs the Heisman voters were wrong about, pro-football wise…Terry Baker, John Huarte and Gary Beban in the 60’s…Pat Sullivan in the 70’s…Ware in the 80’s…Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta and Danny Wuerffel in the 90’s…Eric Crouch, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow, Smith in the 2000’s…and in general, NFL GMs thought these guys were gonna be good…

      SOME people can’t and won’t change, especially when brought up believing they deserve to be treated differently, like Manziel (and I say this as an executive coach that deals with these types all the time)…

      IF the guy comes up here, Hodge has nailed the likely outcome…loser, nailed to the bench…

      But of course, we could be wrong…but I wouldn’t spend 10 cents to find out…

  10. Total bias for cfl. Have you really followed his career or read about him? Everyone deserves a second chance. What the NFL are waiting fir is to see that he has stopped the partying and drugs o lu reason he is not in a team. If he performs like he did in. Illegal and becomes dedicated to the game and no partying drugs and alcohol he could be the MVP in cfl provided he has a team. Hamilton reminds me of Cleveland who did not have a good offence or defence in the league. I think they were at the bottom and yet with his setting drug and alcohol issues and no work ethic he won two games at end of season.

    You make it sound like every quarterback first and second string is better than manziel.

    You need to give your head a shake.

    Again if he is focused and rehabbed he will be amazing to watch and will be able to write his own ticket to NFL after the 2018 season.

  11. Let me keep in touch if and when he gets to cfl to compare notes. It will be fun to follow and comment. I am sorry for the misspelling in my first post as auto correct came into play and I should have checked over before posting.

  12. Rider rooter // September 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm //

    Horse Vince young is trying to Chang for the better. Please don’t knock someone for trying. Maybe manziel plays in the cfl. I hope he changes for the better where ever he ends up.

  13. Flutie has a blast doing it. Garcia and Moon started their careers in the CFL.

  14. Ronnie Football // September 16, 2017 at 5:33 pm //

    It is laughable that all the moralists and puritans on this forum, lead by John Hodge, who run down Manziel while their own lives is most Likely checkered with mistakes, foibles and regrets. Perhaps everyone here will band together to form another temperance movement. I wonder what the clowns here will,write f !anziel finds success in Canada. What a joke …

  15. Agree with the headline and the article gives good reasons why.

    But I can’t see the normally astute Dave Naylor of TSN letting it go.

    It’s how long before he gets to say Manziel that I’ve been listening for with him.

    He can be asked “how is the weather in Hamilton today” and will be off talking on how this is ideal for Manziel.

    Other than that – Naylor is an astute and keen observer!

  16. The writer might be a life long CFl fan but he is not a life long Browns fan. I am. Johnny was not cut due to on field play. Yes he did not learn the play book his first year but he did his second year. And he played extremely well his last 6 starts. He won two out of the three games the Browns won in 2015 on just six starts. I watched every snap and he can play. Many have said the same including Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Farme QB Len Dawson and Cleveland native during Johnnies last NFL start. Immaturity brought him down not bad play. He was learning and on an upward trajectory. The lessons he learned at the Browns including how to study a play book (he never had one at Texas A&M) will allow for fairly quick path to capable play and improvement from week to week. The fact he has a trust fund only means he is not in it for the money. He has grown up over the last few years and wants to play. His college credentials should be enough to give him a shot.

  17. What does that say about the Canadian Football League when the NFL won’t touch him for, what, lack of talent, no: socially unacceptable behavior! It is stunts like this that make us look like a “bush league”! If the NFL won’t employ him because of but not only because of,”Domestic Abuse” which could mean several things, none of them good. Let’s put it bluntly, CFL expectations on personal conduct should be higher than the NFL not lower? CFL is not CRFL,CRehabFL? What do I tell my eleven tear old son? As long as you have enough talent you can beat you wife & kids do tons of drugs crash exotic cars still play football in the CFL. Has he truly showed remorse, if so, he should be begging to play & it’s pretty clear that is not the case. I am not saying he should not get a second chance I am saying the NFL should be the ones to do it.

    • Johnnie did not hit anybody. the Dallas PD found a hotel tape showing Crowly hitting Johnnie not the other way around. They sat on it and negotiated a face saving deal. A trial would have returned an acquittal but Johnnie did not want to go through the OJ circus trial thing.

  18. Ronnie Football // September 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm //

    Yo gotta let a ho, be a ho ….

  19. here is hoping Johnny Manziel will be a Tigercat by this monday…and I would be pleased to see that a former Heisman trophy winner and first round pick was picked up by them and given a second chance…thanks Mr. Hodge but I’m not interested in what you think Johnny Manziel feels about the CFL, nor do need you determining if he has the maturity to play quarterback, if the Tigercats bring him on and he isn’t willing to work and learn the game the natural selection process will occur and he no longer will be in the CFL, no different than any other player…I’m glad the Tigercats will make a call based what they think his positive impact could be on this team…Mr. Hodge states that he didn’t know the playbook in Cleveland nor would he be able to learn the nuances of the CFL…..both opinions formulated on a supposed knowledge of his ability and secondly Mr Hodge’s knowledge of the “nuances ” of the CFL… the CFL would be totally suited to him! Check out his career at Texas A & M and tell us that his ability to move would not be an asset in the CFL! Save your moralizing for someone who cares , his issues of maturity held him back in the NFL and he knows this is his last chance to get back into the game,… for us other fans who want to see a better product on the field in Hamilton I’m hoping he gets a chance !

  20. Come on John! You just cut and pasted the same narrative that all of the Puritan Johnny haters have been spewing and using as click bait for the last two years. Ideally, would Johnny rather be playing in the NFL or the CFL… Hummmm… Let me think. Yes, of course he would rather be playing in the NFL, but the dude seems to have been humbled and is just wanting another shot. In this case, the CFL will probably be the path he needs to take and one he is eager to pursue. To me, that shows some maturity.

    If he is truly committed to being a dedicated professional football player, do you really believe he wouldn’t do well in the CFL, or the NFL for that matter? The idea that he can’t succeed in either is flat out laughable. The kid can ball, and frankly, wherever he lands will be a more exciting league with him in it.

  21. 210 lbs and ready to make a mess in the CFL. Can’t wait, have heard from those who have seen him work out recently that he is in game shape and is Flutie 5.0. Which team will have the stones to deal with the social media and media bs that will come with him.
    With Lulay out, Glenn literally near the age of retirement, Ray vulnerable to injury, Masoli unproven, Harris out and Durant not cutting it many teams could use him.

    More than that he will bring millions of viewers, and millions more in the US. TSN should have interest in getting him signed sooner rather than later. The team owner that signs him will fill their stadiums. Football fans across the country will come see him.

    He does want to play and win in the CFL. In his element while on the field, he has not thrived under the bright spotlight of success. Hope he is grounded and has some support.

    Bring on Johnny Football!!

  22. Ronnie Football // September 17, 2017 at 7:27 am //

    I say that John Hodge should be reprimanded for writing such pure rubbish. Even more so, perhaps he should step down as a contributor to this site as his presence alone cheapens what appears to be a legitimate journalistic endeavour.

  23. Manziel has talent, NFL starter talent..This is fact. He has started and won in the NFL, for the worst team…of the last 10 years. He was 20 at the time he was drafted and is now just 24. A lot of player come into league at 23-24. You are right about his maturity and substance issues..he was in a tough situation and made it worse by his choices.
    I want to see him play because he is the most exciting QB I have seen. Simple, no agenda, no statement on haves and and have nots, no just he is entertaining.

    • As a life long Browns fan I can verify that. I wont post links here because it gets halted by the 3 down nation Gestapo but look for these videos on your favorite search engine…Browns vs Tennessee 2015 Fourth Q touchdown. Pure Johnny Football. Evades rush, rolls out, Receiver changes route, hit for touchdown. At Pittsburgh 2015. Stays in pocket most of the game throws for over 300. San Francisco 2015 Calmly picks SF apart wins game. Kansas City 2015..Wind blowing on the plains. Nobody can throw not even Alex Smith. Johnny takes to the ground sets club record for QB rushing.

  24. Mr Hodge , what kind of article is this for you to bring out on the likely the eve or close to it of one of the biggest signings in CFL History? Are you not a CFL Fan? Do you not want to see the CFL grow and have excitement in all nine cities and possibly really get the expansion talk in other suitable cities like Halifax and Quebec City fast tracked and expedited. Shame on you for writing this article. You know the impact that Johnny Manziel is going to have in this league and so do all other eight CFL teams. A nice breath of fresh error is coming for the CFL. I guess you did not enjoy watching Doug Flutie like I did as Johnny Manziel will be even more exciting. Before putting your pen to paper and writing your comments, perhaps you should have considered the desperate situation the Ticats find themselves in, the fact that Zach Collaros continued to “ride the pine” in a “must win” game that Collaros should have been inserted into, and then perhaps logic should have prevailed with you, in knowing that the Ticats are about to make one hellava of a big move, which will benefit the CFL as a whole.

    • The writer said Johnnie sees the CFL as Bush league but if you read between the lines the writer really wants that to be the case. HE is afraid to succeed. The CFL is a great entertainment product. The three down rule and weirdness like the rouge are fun. All it needs is the best talent available. The ratio needs to be phased out. Start with a reduction from 7 to 4. The MLS does not have any more American quotas but at one time it did and it was just 4 out of 11. Now the league is fast approaching more than 50% non Americans. And it is booming. Atlanta just posted a 70,000 attendance regular season game this weekend. Who would not want to see Brazilians dribbling all over the place? They are the best and Americans appreciate it. As they appreciate Canadian and Russian Hockey players. Will Canadians Disappear from the CFL? No but they will have to upgrade their training. Looking at the kid Bridge. Quarterback is exempt from Ratios. Bridge will be a starter for a long time. Why? He played Division one in the Sun Belt conference and attended the Manning Brothers training camp for Quarterbacks. He does not need coddling. Neither do all the Canadians now flooding NCAA and NBA Basketball. Without protection rules you just get better. Thats all. You need to have top players in the league even if they are down on their luck the way Manziel (Immaturity) and Flutie (crossed picket lines) were. You let in more exciting players then attendance will go up. Plus Americans will watch on ESPN and cross the border to attend especially in June and July when there are no games in the US. Expansion is a great idea. Hamilton is 10th in Canadian population. Mississauga and Brampton have more people. I would include these also for expansion. Regina is 24th. Here are some 11-23 slots I would consider also. Windsor (23) Detroit fans can cross the bridge to get a head start on Football before the Lions and Wolverines start up. London or Kitchener or Waterloo. Tech money and far enough away from Hamilton. Surrey (12) and Laval (13) Many US metro areas have two teams such as Chicago has two Baseball teams.

  25. Ronnie Football // September 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm //

    John Hodge has taken much criticism for his misguided article and rightfully so. We challenge Mr. Hodge to respond to his detractors & issue an apology for publishing such garbage.

    • Why is it that guys from division one teams come to try to play up here and can’t dominate an O Lineman that played 4 years at Laval or Guelph or Mac ?

  26. Billinburlington // September 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm //

    A well written article warning of the danger of using the CFL as a stepping stone. I’m still on the fence on this one. I’d hate to see a former NFL star use and abuse our league in an effort to get to the NFL. I’d also hate to see him join our league and become a huge bust- failing miserably.

    Bottom line- both he and the Ticats needs to either fish or cut bait. Let’s end this uncertainty and move onward- with or without him.

  27. Billinburlington. Every player is the cfl is using the cfl for a stepping stone to get to the NFL. They all play well with the possibility of going to spring training camp.
    So why is it different for Johnny Manziel. He has the most potential I believe in writing his own Ticket to NFL if he is committed and has good work ethic as the talent is there. If he plays like he did with Texas A&M when he won the Heisman as freshman and nominated for Heisman in his second year CFL is in for a treat. Great exposure and money maker for the cfl. Watch teams home games will create a buzz to see him play and at the same time want their team to stop him. It will be an exciting g 2018.

    • listen to yourself…You dont want to succeed or fail so you do nothing. Too many Canadians have this attitude. One of the reasons Silicon and Waterloo Valley are successful is they reward failure. If you can tell me what went wrong and why and what you will do different you will get more funding. Great Browns and Bengals head coach said in his autobiography “I never learned a damnn thing when I won a game”

  28. Does anyone know which CFL team John Hodge is a fan of Or supports.

  29. Ronnie Football // September 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm //

    Have you seen how many empty seats there are at Tim Horton’s Field lately ?!? I have season tickets & could not make the last game: I could barely give my seats away. Johnny Football in Hamilton is not only good for the team, but his signing is best for business. Believe that !!!

  30. D Football Mama // September 17, 2017 at 11:01 pm //

    Johnny deserves another chance. I wish someone in the NFL had taken a chance on him. I have never seen a CFL game before, but you can rest assured I will be watching the team he lands on. I can’t wait!

  31. Humber River // September 18, 2017 at 4:21 am //

    No idea if he comes to the league or how he’ll do if he does, but it’s a story. Pretending it’s not is pointless.

  32. Because everyone loves a comeback story, and this could be a great one. You’re explaining why nobody should be talking about him, while talking about him. You should’ve saved yourself some time and just talked this through with yourself in the mirror!

  33. Manziel has never been arrested and never been charged with anything. Yet look up Masoli in Wikipedia and you will see he had two arrests in 2010 and was kicked off Oregon by Chip Kelley. Sumlin never kicked Manziel off his team. Was Masoli’s contract held up? this is really unfair. People are just jealous because Manziel was born rich with loads of natural athletic talent. Not is his fault.

    • If Manziel has so much talent…how come he’s not employed in the NFL??

      Masoli has worked hard to prove himself here.

      What has Manziel done??

  34. And would Johnny be making this plea if Manziel were talking with Winnipeg?

    Personally, I think Manziel is a waste of any team’s effort.

    However, how about we get an objective voice.

  35. // Reply
    Masoli is a testament to the CFLs long history of second chances. An arrest for Burglary and MJ possession in Oregon in 2010 got him kicked off of Chip Kelly Ducks team. Ambrosie do the right thing and extend the same chance to Oregon Duck Verbal commit Manziel as did to former Oregon Duck Masoli.

  36. MLS is beating CFL in attendance in 3 cities it compete in. Why? Millennials prefer the other Football.
    Why is MLS better? No Cancon rules. Best players from around the world. Euros, South Americans and yes Bradley and Altidore from New Jersey. Get off your morality high horse CFL and let the exciting millennial celebrity Manziel attract young fans and save this league the way he saved Texas [email protected] football.

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