After having last thrown an NFL pass in 2015, Johnny Manziel is finally returning to football.
It won’t be in the NFL, but many consider it a legitimate step toward returning to the league.
Manziel will join the developmental Spring League, which takes place from March 28 through April 15 in Austin, Texas, this year.
The Spring League is a small affair, with only four teams competing in a pair of doubleheaders.
It has, however, fielded some legitimate NFL talent in the past, with both Greg Hardy and Kellen Winslow Jr. having participated in the Spring League.
It’s also not something that NFL scouts ignore.
According to the Spring League, 10 NFL teams sent scouts to the games, and 22 NFL teams asked the league for game footage.
The median age of players in the Spring League is just 24.
For Manziel, the decision is an abrupt departure after numerous signs pointed toward him joining the Canadian Football League.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats held exclusive rights to Manziel but were unable to come to an agreeable deal with him.
Manziel benefits from the move because he can get some NFL eyes on him without making an especially long-term commitment.
The Spring League benefits from getting one of the bigger football names outside of the NFL to join its ranks.
The league’s CEO certainly thinks this is a good move for Manziel.
“We’re excited to have such a dynamic player in [Johnny Manziel] taking part in the Spring League,” CEO Brian Woods said in a statement provided to Bleacher Report. “We believe our platform is the ideal forum for Mr. Manziel to enact his NFL comeback.”
Manziel’s football comeback begins on the heels of him announcing his struggles with bipolar disorder.
“I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” he said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired Monday. “At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental makeup or the way that I was created.”
Despite his struggles with bipolar disorder, Manziel seems genuinely thrilled about being able to return to football again.
“Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege,” Manziel said via ESPN.
“The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition.”
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