Johnny Manziel worked out for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Buffalo last week according to TSN.
The Ticats put Manziel through a series of physical and medical tests during their bye week on Aug. 23 and 24, coming away convinced he’s not ready to resume his professional career.
“Too many red flags,” said one source.
Hamilton’s contingent in Buffalo included head coach June Jones, vice-president of football operations Kent Austin, general manager Eric Tillman, assistant general manager Shawn Burke and team president and CEO Scott Mitchell. The group left the session with the understanding that they would not be pursuing Manziel at this time.
The Ticats were hoping to learn that Manziel, 24, is ready to put his troubled past behind him and dedicate himself to becoming the player he was in college. Most importantly, the team wondered if Manziel could manage becoming the face of a franchise and the attention that would come with a return to the spotlight.
The answer to those questions was a resounding no, according to sources. Among other concerns, the Ticats were not convinced Manziel is in in game shape or that his off-field regiment is consistent with that of someone dedicated to professional football.
According to a source, the Ticats plan to keep Manziel on their negotiation list. Should his agent declare that Manziel is ready to sign a contract to come to Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats would have 10 days to either sign him or trade his rights to another CFL team.
The Ticats also have a new coach in Jones, a former Atlanta Falcons coach who tried to recruit Manziel out of high school when he was the head coach at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Jones has been extremely interested in Manziel since coming to Hamilton three weeks ago, believing the former Texas A&M star offered the perfect skill set to run the type of offence he prefers. Jones has been fascinated with Manziel since at least 2012 when he burst onto the college football scene with a six-touchdown performance against Jones’ SMU Mustangs.
The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has been out of football for an entire season after being released by Cleveland on Mar. 11, 2016.
The Browns selected Manziel in the first-round, 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL draft. He played in 14 games, starting eight (2-6 win-loss), completing 147 of 258 passes (57 per cent completion rate) for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, posting a 74.4 QB rating. Manziel added 46 carries for 259 yards (5.6-yards-per-carry) and one touchdown.