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May 19, 2018

Manziel announces two-year deal with Ticats

Texas A&M

HAMILTON — Johnny Manziel has confirmed he’s signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The former Texas A&M star tweeted the news Saturday morning:

“Made the decision today to sign my contract with the CFL and further my football career after a long break,” Manziel tweeted. “Very grateful for everyone that’s been supporting me along the way. I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I’m eager for what the future holds.”

If true, the Manziel saga is about to add its most meaningful chapter yet.

Saturday’s reported signing puts a marker in what has been 15 months of twists and turns. The process officially got started back in March of 2017, when it was confirmed that the Tiger-Cats had indeed been holding the exclusive negotiation rights to Manziel.

Stay locked to CFL.ca for more updates and continuing coverage.

A workout with the ‘Cats, meetings with Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and contract negotiation deadlines were just some of the milestones in what has been an eventful news cycle involving the two sides.

In April, while continuing his path back to professional football, Manziel competed in a two-week spring league in Austin, Texas under the watchful eyes of CFL and NFL scouts.

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The Johnny Manziel era begins in Hamilton after the former college star signed Saturday (The Associated Press)

Now, in Hamilton, the former Heisman Trophy winner will compete with a club somewhat starting anew under the leadership of June Jones.

With Jones and Masoli, the Ticats almost overcame an 0-8 start to the season, winning six of their last 10 games of the season.

Jones has maintained that Masoli has earned the right to start, and Manziel will have to unseat him fair and square if he’s going to become the starter. However, Manziel’s presence adds even more intrigue to what’s expected to be an exciting month across the league.

For Manziel, it’s an opportunity to get back on the field and play professional football for the first time since 2016.

“I am formally signing in the CFL. I’ve decided to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I’ll be up here for what looks like two years, getting back to playing ball,” Manziel said in a video released by Barstool Sports. “That’s what it comes down to. Big day for me. I’m getting back to what I want to do, and I’m happy about it.”

While Manziel’s off-field issues in the past have been well-documented, the former first round NFL Draft pick has shown he’s dedicated to turning his life around and making a pro football comeback.

Either way, his talent is undeniable. Current Ticats GM Eric Tillman once described Manziel as a player of ‘extraordinary gifts’.

“A terrific athlete, a guy that can dunk a basketball,” said Tillman last year, after the Ticats revealed publicly that Manziel was on their neg list. “Flat-footed, has huge hands. The guy’s just Houdini with the football — just an innate ability to escape.”

Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round, 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 24-year-old played in five games in his rookie season, connecting on 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed nine times for 29 yards and a touchdown that year.

In his second season with the Browns in 2015, Manziel played in nine games while completing 129 of his 223 passes for 1,500 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. The Texas A&M alum also rushed 37 times for 230 yards that season.

Manziel was released by the Browns in March of 2016 and did not sign with any other NFL team since.