Former Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel been assigned to the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football.
Welcome to the 901 @JManziel2
— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 17, 2019
“We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we’ve always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers,” Alliance co-founder Bill Polian said in a statement.
“We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance.”
The Alouettes were directed by the CFL to release Manziel after the league said he contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play. The CFL also informed its member clubs that it will not register a contract for Manziel if any franchise attempts to sign him.
According to 3DownNaton’s Justin Dunk, Manziel was banned after missing required meetings with people tasked to help him stay on the straight and narrow – in contradiction of the agreement set out by the league. That led to speculation that Manziel orchestrated his departure from the CFL by intentionally violating the agreement in order to pursue opportunities in the AAF – a theory CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie rejected.
The AAF initially said that it would give Manziel the chance to work out for all eight teams, but co-founder Charlie Ebersol put that on hold in early March, saying the league wanted “to get to the bottom of what happened in Canada.”
The San Antonio Commanders own Manziel’s rights under the league’s allocation system because the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner played for Texas A&M University. That means San Antonio would get the first chance to sign Manziel. San Antonio took a pass on Manziel, allowing the waiver system to determine him ending up in Memphis.
Manziel was acquired in a blockbuster in-season trade last year when the Alouettes sent Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman, receiver Chris Williams and two first-round draft picks to the Ticats for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. He passed for 1,290 yards, five touchdowns versus seven interceptions and rushed 29 times for 215 yards, ending the season 2-6 as Montreal’s starter.