Johnny Manziel Released from Team for Violating Agreement, Barred from Joining Other CFL Teams


Johnny (Canadian) Football is no more.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was released from the Montreal Alouettes on Wednesday and ruled ineligible to sign with any other CFL team.

The team said he violated the terms of the agreement that he and the CFL had put in place when Manziel first joined the league in 2018.

“We are disappointed with the turn of events,” Alouettes GM Kavis Reed said in a statement, according to TSN. “Johnny was offered all the support we can offer, in collaboration with the CFL, but was unable to meet the terms of its agreement.

“We worked with the league and introduced alternatives to Johnny, but Johnny refused to go ahead.”

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The specifics of what Manziel did to violate the agreement were not been made public Wednesday afternoon, but the CFL described the conditions of his employment as “extensive and exacting.”

“Mr. Manziel has been informed he must continue to meet a number of conditions in order to remain eligible. These conditions, while extensive and exacting, remain confidential,” the CFL said in a statement.

Manziel tweeted about his release Wednesday, saying, “I want to thank Coach (Mike) Sherman, my teammates, and the CFL fans. My time there reestablished my love for the game of football and the work that goes into it. I look forward to exploring new options within the United States.”

Those “new options” could include a job in one of the upstart spring leagues; the Alliance of American Football has begun its debut season, and the rebooted XFL launches in 2020.

In a recent podcast hosted by Barstool Sports, Manziel said he is happy that there are “more options” available when discussing the AAF and XFL.

The former Cleveland Browns quarterback also said he wanted to get into the best situation possible for himself.

“It’s great for football, it’s great for the guys who need more opportunity, need more film and time to play,” Manziel said on the Barstool Sports Comeback SZN podcast. “I don’t know exactly what my exact steps will be for the next years coming up, but at least there’s a lot of options.

“Me and E.B. (agent Erik Burkhardt) are fully committed to playing ball and trying to get into the best situation possible, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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While some speculated that Manziel’s CFL release and termination might be related to his interest in the spring leagues, a source close to the situation doesn’t believe that’s so, according to ESPN.

Manziel’s original CFL deal ran through the 2019 season.

He was due an offseason bonus from the Alouettes of $75,000 on Friday. Manziel was set to make $202,000 in base salary this season, with another $18,000 in covered housing and up to $150,000 in incentives.

In eight games for the Alouettes last season, Manziel completed 64 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He finished 2018 as the team’s starting quarterback and was expected to compete with Vernon Adams and Antonio Pipkin for the starting job this season.

The 2019 CFL regular season will begin on June 13 with the 107th Grey Cup taking place Nov. 24.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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