The Montreal Alouettes were directed by the CFL to release quarterback Johnny Manziel after it was found that he contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league.
Als general manager Kavis Reed met with the media in Montreal to discuss the situation surrounding Manziel.
Question: How long had the potential release of Manziel been possible?
Reed: This has been a process, something that started in the off-season and we’ve had some time to deliberate with this and see where it would go.
Q: What brought about the release?
Reed: Mr. Manziel violated one of the conditions of his agreement with the league to be instated in the CFL. The conditions of Mr. Manziel participating in the CFL has been confidential and will remain confidential. If you would want to direct those questions to the league that would be great.
Q: If the league would not have intervened would you have let Manziel go?
Reed: No sir. Mr. Manziel’s performance on the field showed that he had a very good upside, but Mr. Manziel violated a term and we all understood those terms and we have to be compliant with it. We’re not at liberty to discuss those terms and the league would be more able to address that.
Q: Do you expect the league to give you compensation back from the trade?
Reed: When we made the decision to make the trade for Mr. Manziel we knew the risks that went with it. We felt that we did our due diligence. We felt based on the information coming from Hamilton and by the league that Mr. Manziel was compliant with all conditions and we made the decision to go with that.
Q: How do you feel about trading for Manziel now that he’s been barred from the league?
Reed: We made that decision at the time because we felt Mr. Manziel would make our football team better. Our situation at quarterback had us with one quarterback on the roster. His relationship with coach [Mike] Sherman, the information that we had gathered over the year, pointed us in that direction. We’re going to be aggressive to try to win football games and there’s not going to be an apology for making a decision which we felt was good for our team. In the business of sports it is about doing what is right for winning football games, there is not going to be an embarrassment for making a decision that we felt was vetted and would allow ourselves the opportunity to win football games.
Q: How vetted was the decision because we had heard that he was still partying and missed team meetings during training camp?
Reed: 99 per cent of the players will have a social life and we’re not going to expect anyone to live in a test tube or in a bubble. We made a decision based on what we understood and knew. I think that we made the right decision at the time. We took an educated risk and it did not work out.
Q: Where you aware that the release could unfold when free agency started?
Reed: We were familiar with the process and we made some very good decisions in free agency, this would not have changed our path in free agency and we’re comfortable with where we have our football team right now. We have tremendous quarterback competition coming into training camp, we feel the position is stable, we feel that out of those four individuals that someone is going to emerge as our starting quarterback.
Q: Did Manziel want to be released to purse playing opportunities in the United States?
Reed: Johnny Manziel never gave any indication of that, during that whole process that wasn’t a part of it. Mr. Manziel violated a condition of the agreement with the league. Mr. Manziel was given opportunities to be able to rectify the situation and chose not to. This was not a part of the understanding, the league and our team put a lot of infrastructure in place for Mr. Manziel to be successful and it did not work out.
Q: Is it unusual that a commissioner can make that decision for a team?
Reed: No. Our commissioner has done a tremendous job for our league in terms or protecting the brand. Our league has done what we feel is accurate and correct.
Q: Just to be clear, when did you find out that the league could potentially force the Alouettes to release Manziel?
Reed: This was prior to free agency.
Q: Did you ask Manziel to restructure his contract?
Reed: No. Never.
Q: When Antonio Pipkin played near the end of last season, was it because the team was preparing for Manziel to possibly be released?
Reed: We were preparing as a franchise who hadn’t had an established franchise quarterback for a number of years. We never one time said Johnny Manziel was our franchise quarterback. We never put all our stock in Johnny Manziel. That was not prudent.
Q: When was the last time you spoke to Manziel?
Reed: Probably about two weeks ago.