Ticats VP Kent Austin on Manziel interview: ‘He’s gone through a lot, he’s come a long way’

Ticats vice-president of football operations Kent Austin says he’s watched Johnny Manziel’s interview with Good Morning America twice.

Manziel told the American TV show that he’s taking medication to deal with bipolar disorder and dealing with his mental issues are his top priority. Austin said he liked what he saw.

“It’s like anybody you talk about: until you get to know that individual, get to walk in his shoes, get to understand what makes him tick, those types of things, it’s hard to really form a proper judgement call if you will,” Austin said. “He’s gone through a lot, he’s come a long way. The interview was a good interview.”

But Austin said that the Ticats are looking for Manziel to show he’s ready for the mental and physical challenges of professional football.

“The most important thing we’ve always said here, is we’re looking for patterns of behaviour with our players. A consistent pattern of behaviour – with any player—is more indicative of somebody’s character and what matters to them,” Austin said. “So he’s had a good stretch here and he’s doing well, he’s working hard and doing all the right things right now.

Austin said he deals primarily with Manziel’s agent Erik Burkhardt.

I don’t talk to Johnny much directly. I talk more with Burkhardt whom I talk to quite a bit,” Austin said. “We talked yesterday, we’ll talk several times this week I’m sure. We have a very open and direct line of communication with each other.Most of our information is delivered to us from Erik.”

– with files from Steve Milton & Louis Butko of TSN1150