On the same day that Tim Tebow broke his hand playing baseball and ending his minor league season, former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel might finally be starting his 2018 season, at least as far as on-field participation is concerned.
The former first-round draft pick accepted a contract offer from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League, but the problem for him is that they already had a pretty good quarterback in Jeremiah Masoli, who had been keeping him on the bench.
It turns out there was another team much more interested in having him on the roster and who intends to put him on the field, and they just traded for him. That would be the Montreal Alouettes, whose head coach already has some familiarity would Manziel.
Mike Sherman was Texas A&M’s head coach from 2008 to 2011. He was fired in December of that year, meaning that he was already through much of the recruiting for the following season. Manziel was part of the final recruiting class Sherman spearheaded for the Aggies, though the two never got to work together on the field as a result of Sherman’s firing.
Now they will get that chance in the CFL, where Sherman is in his first season as head coach. In between jobs, he was the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2013 and then coached high school football for three years. For those who don’t remember, he was the Green Bay Packers’ head coach before Mike McCarthy, from 2000 to 2005. He even served as general manager there for a few years at the same time.
Sherman told reporters that “we didn’t bring him here to have him sit on the bench”, but Manziel might have to wait a game before getting on the field, because the Alouettes are operating under a short week and play their next game on Thursday, so they will only have two practices in between then and now.
“We’ll just see how the week plays out”, Sherman said of the short week possibly playing a role in his new quarterback’s availability for the next game. “I don’t want to put added pressure on him and I want everybody else to get ready to play. We’ll just play it out during the course of the week”.
As Kevin Seifert notes, Manziel did not even get on the field for a single snap for the Tiger-Cats behind Masoli. Hamilton’s starter is second in the league in passing yardage and completion percentage, though he only has four touchdown passes in five games to five interceptions. The Tiger-Cats are currently 2-3, which is good for second place in the East Division behind the 3-2 Ottawa Redblacks. The Alouttes are 1-4 and have scored just 69 points in five games.
Manziel said that he did not request the trade. He was part of a five-player deal that saw himself and offensive linemn Tony Washington and Landon Rice head to Montreal in exchange for defensive end Jamaal Westerman, wide receiver Chris Williams, and two first-round picks in 2020 and 2021. Washington and Westerman might be names that are familiar to you. The latter played in the NFL for five seasons. Williams very briefly played in the NFL and recorded a kick return for a touchdown. Rice is Canadian, playing collegiately for the Manitoba Bisons.