After stops in the NFL and Canadian Football League, Johnny Manziel will continue his football career in the Alliance of American Football. The AAF signed Manziel to a player contract, announcing the news during the broadcast of Saturday’s Arizona Hotshots-Orlando Apollos game. Manziel will join the Memphis Express, who claimed him off waivers.
Manziel became one of the most recognizable names in football during a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign at Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to an 11-2 record and an upset of the eventual national-champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Manziel completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns. He added another 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.
However, Manziel didn’t maintain success at the next level. He washed out of the NFL less than two years after the Cleveland Browns selected him in the first round, making just eight starts and throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns (seven). Manizel resurfaced in the CFL several years later but never appeared in a game with his initial team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Montreal Alouettes made him a starter late in the 2018 season, though Manziel struggled in his eight-game showcase. The Alouettes released Manziel in early 2019 when CFL announced Manziel had "contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league."
Before Manziel signed with the AAF, co-founder Bill Polian told CBS Sports that the league was "in the process of going through due diligence." That process has since concluded, and Manziel will join the league immediately.
"We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to the 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," Polian said in a press release. "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."
Manziel’s player rights initially belonged to the San Antonio Commanders based on the AAF’s college-allocation system. After the Commanders passed on the quarterback, the Express had the first chance to put in a waiver claim.