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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

CFL commissioner explains why he blocked team from signing Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel appeared to be close to signing with a Canadian Football League team earlier this year, but he was told he will need to meet certain conditions off the field before that can happen. In a recent interview, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie shed some light on why teams were not permitted to sign Manziel.

Ambrosie told Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun that he was impressed with Manziel after speaking with him, but the commissioner is not yet convinced that having the former NFL quarterback in the CFL would be a wise business decision.

“Yes. I liked him. He’s a great football guy. If you asked me alone to make a decision, I sat with a charming guy who’s full of passion and energy,” Ambrosie said. “Through an unsophisticated and untrained lens, I thought, ‘Wow, I’d want this guy on the field in a heartbeat.’ That’s the football Randy. The pragmatic, practical business guy said, ‘Wait a minute, there are some experts we could introduce into this process where we could understand him more scientifically and objectively. That’s what I’ve asked Johnny Manziel to do for us. If and when we bring a player into our game, I want to say to the fans and the community that we’ve done our work in a thoughtful way.”

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats had interest in Manziel, and the CFL said in September that Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract in 2018 if he “meets certain conditions.” The Hamilton Ambrosie did not get into specifics about what those conditions are.

“We have to involve experts. We have to stop believing that all of us who love the game of football know enough about broader issues to make right judgements on players with a history,” the commissioner said. “I think we’ve introduced a new mindset around the introduction of expert advice to help guide us in decisions on players with a past.”

We know Manziel has had numerous problems off the field, and Ambrosie probably wants to look into his domestic violence case more in addition to the former Texas A&M star’s history with alcohol and drug use. It remains to be seen if Manziel is even in football shape and committed to playing, let alone if he has his life on track.

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