Johnny Manziel's Latest Coach: 'I Don't Want To Baby Him'


After joining the Memphis Express of the AAF, Johnny Manziel is getting another chance to play pro football, but his new head coach won’t take it easy on the Heisman winner.

Pro and College Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary is the Express’ coach and was known as a strict disciplinarian when coaching the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL.

Just ask Vernon Davis as he was kicked off the sideline by Singletary which then led to the coach’s infamous “Can’t win with ’em” press conference.

Singletary doesn’t plan on going easy on Manziel, either, ahead of what could be his AAF debut on Sunday as the coach told the Chicago Tribune.

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“I don’t want to baby him,” Singletary said. “This is an opportunity for him to take advantage of, and if for any reason he’s not at the place to stand and really want this and is really willing to work for it, then it’s not going to work anyway. I’m hoping this time he’s ready and I really feel he is. I’m excited to see where he goes.”

Manziel’s work ethic has come into question before and not just on the football field. Manziel told USA Today, as part of the terms of his CFL contract, he was required to attend meetings with medical and mental health professionals as part of the agreement.

Veteran CFL reporter Justin Dunk says that Manziel missed a number of those meetings which led to him being released last month.

Manziel said he appreciated Singletary being honest and upfront with him about the expectations he has to meet on and off the field.

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“This is a guy who has known me for one day,” Manziel said about Singletary, “and he genuinely cares about my success and about me as a person, not just football.”

Memphis can certainly use some help at the quarterback position as the trio of Zach Mettenberger, Christian Hackenberg and Brandon Silvers has been less than impressive.

Those three have combined for four touchdowns and five interceptions as the Express have posted a league-worst 1-5 record.

There were no immediate plans for Manziel to play going into their Sunday tilt against the Birmingham Iron, as “Johnny Football” admits he still needs to get some rust out.

“I got about 13 or 14 live reps, and I was just getting some of the rust out,” Manziel told USA Today. “In Canada, I didn’t get a chance to go under center and get back to inside zone, outside zone footwork and some of the things I worked on my two years playing pro ball prior.

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“It’ll get smoother. It’ll get cleaner as the weeks go on, I have no doubt about that.”

Manziel’s ability as a pro football player is still in question, but it appears he’s already getting along with his teammates and even went out to dinner with Memphis Grizzlies’ player Chandler Parsons.

“He’s been great since he’s been here,” Singletary said, according to USA Today. “There have been great comments from the guys. Great chemistry. So far, so good.”

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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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