Johnny Manziel’s football career has not really gone anywhere lately, but if it goes somewhere, he will be promoting “Comebackszn” along the way.
Manziel officially filed and received a trademark for “comebackszn,” his lawyer shared this week. Comebackszn is a term Manziel popularized as he was trying to work his way back in the world of professional football.
Johnny Football was a bust as a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. His stint with the team last two seasons and he showed a lack of commitment. He ended up in the CFL and was cut for similar reasons. Manziel had a brief stint with the short-lived AAF earlier this year and is now hoping for a shot in the XFL.
Manziel has been fairly quiet on social media by his standards. If he does start making some noise in the future, expect it to be him promoting the new brand.
Johnny Manziel is still ready and eager to resume his football career, and now he’s eyeing the XFL.
The new league will have teams in Houston and Dallas, and both options appeal to Manziel due to their proximity to College Station, where Manziel played his college ball. The Houston team will also be run by June Jones, who coached Manziel during his brief CFL stint. All these factors mean that Manziel would love to play for Houston or Dallas if the opportunity arises.
Manziel on possibly being reunited with June Jones in Houston: “I enjoyed every single day I had with coach Jones. Being in his offense was the best part of each day.”
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 8, 2019
Manziel on his interest in Houston’s XFL team: “It’s a stone’s throw from College Station. A lot of Aggies drove from Houston to College Station. Houston’s a great city that’ll always be near and dear to me.”
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 8, 2019
Manziel also interested in Dallas’ XFL team: “The biggest draw for me is having two XFL teams in Texas. I’m still young and in good shape. I’m looking at all opportunities to play.”
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 8, 2019
Manziel has been open about his desire to join the league in the past, but he’s gotten more specific here. It remains to be seen if the XFL will extend the opportunity to him, as there’s no indication that’s happened yet.
We all love anonymous scout opinions, where people that refuse to put their name on something dish on a young man. Sometimes, though, the concerns and issues pointed out by someone in confidence prove to be accurate. I thought I would take a look back at some recent past quarterbacks who have played enough for us to make an evaluation, and see if the scouting comments proved prescient or problematic.
Bob McGinn, who used to write for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel compiled scout comments on the draft for years, and so I am looking at what he relayed for the 2011 to 2014 drafts.
2011, of course, was the year of the lockout and also the year that Cam Newton was entering the league. That entire spring was full of negative comments about Newton, most notably with the controversy involving Nolan Nawrocki’s assessment of Newton.
I could not find a recap that went down each QB individually, like some future editions, but McGinn did go in depth on Newton.
Let’s start of with this fire assessment from one scout. “I don’t like any of them, really. There’s no Sam Bradfords. There’s no Josh Freeman. I think they’re all second- or third rounders.” That one does not stand up well to history. Freeman flamed out soon after and Bradford never became a star, while Cam Newton won an MVP award, Colin Kaepernick appeared in a Super Bowl, and Andy Dalton has started for almost a decade.
Bill Polian was quoted as saying there was a big dropoff after Cam Newton, but of the 24 personnel people interviewed by McGinn, most thought Newton would be a bust. Sixteen of them had Blaine Gabbert as the best quarterback in the class, and only two thought Newton would be a perennial pro bowler.
Some scouts did favor Newton, though. One said, “our coaches just ripped his (expletive), but I’d take him top-10. This guy is so talented, so much a winner, such a force.”
That scout has largely been proven right.
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Johnny Manziel has maintained that his ultimate goal is still to play in the NFL again, and the former Heisman Trophy winner is willing to prove himself on any football field in order to get there.
Manziel, who spent a very brief time in the Alliance of American Football before the league went under, has been mentioned as a possible target for XFL teams. He was asked by TMZ this week about potentially playing in Vince McMahon’s league when it kicks off next year, and he made it clear he is open to it.
“Any football opportunity,” Manziel said. “That’s all it is, man. Ball 24/7.”
Oliver Luck, the CEO and commissioner of the XFL, told “The Ken Carmen Show with Anthony Lima” earlier this week that he is open to Manziel playing in the league.
“As long as he fits our profile, and our sort of behavioral standards, and quite honestly, a bigger challenge – as long as our eight head coaches think he’s one of the quarterbacks that can make us better, and we’ve got some guys that know quarterbacks fairly well, whether it’s Bob Stoops or Pep Hamilton, Jim Zorn – we’re going to rely heavily on our coaches to say, yes, these are the guys that will make our league better,” Luck said, via Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo Sports.
“If Manziel is in that group, I’m sure he might have that opportunity, but it really all depends on him, and we haven’t had any contact with him.”
McMahon has said players who have been convicted of crimes won’t be allowed to play in the XFL. While Manziel has had numerous off-field issues over the years, the charges that stemmed from him allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in 2016 were dropped after he reached a plea deal with prosecutors.
Manziel recently opened up once again about all the mistakes he has made, and he seems to be pretty good at talking people into giving him opportunities. If the XFL is hungry for star power, it could certainly do a lot worse than Johnny Football.
Johnny Manziel has very little chance of ever playing in the NFL again, but that does not mean he plans to give up on a career in football.
In an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday morning, Manziel reiterated that making an NFL return is still his goal even after he was kicked out of the CFL. However, he said he would have interest in working in some sort of coaching capacity or media role if he never gets another shot to play in the league.
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) April 8, 2019
Manziel also said he has been working with quarterback guru George Whitfield now that the AAF has gone under, but he would not say why he was kicked out of the CFL. He also quipped that he is going by “John” now, though he later said he was only joking about that.
Not a chyron typo. Johnny Manziel tells @dpshow he’s going by John Manziel these days. With AAF defunct, he’s working out with George Whitfield now. Has no regrets about going to Canada to play but would not say why he got kicked out. pic.twitter.com/U4xL5rDrtK
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) April 8, 2019
Though Manziel was only with the AAF’s Memphis Express for a short time before the league suspended all football operations, the former Heisman Trophy winner seems to have made a great impression on his coach. Manziel once again opened up recently about the mistakes he made throughout his career and personal life, but that is a story he has told many times. His chances of playing in the NFL are very slim, and time will tell if coaching or broadcasting is a possibility.
Johnny Manziel’s latest comeback bid has been derailed, but this time, it wasn’t his own fault. In fact, he appears to have done himself some good.
Manziel thoroughly impressed some of the people he worked with in his brief stint in the now-defunct AAF. One of those people was quarterbacks coach David Lee, who was so wary of Manziel coming out of Texas A&M that he refused to list him on his internal draft board while working on Rex Ryan’s New York Jets staff.
Things have certainly changed now after the two got to know each other with the Memphis Express.
“I’m hoping and praying he gets another chance. My short experience with him was tremendous,” Lee told John Kryk of the Toronto Sun. “I really, really like Johnny as a person. Boy, he’s got a fire in his heart. He loves football. Gosh, he loves it. And he wants to be good … He had been through hell and back from the time he left Texas A&M until the time he rolled into Memphis.”
Lee probably got to know the honest, regretful version of Manziel that we see these days. It’s unclear what his next move will be, but he hasn’t hurt himself in the AAF, at the very least.
Johnny Manziel responded on Monday to rapper Eminem’s AAF request.
Eminem sent an all-caps tweet in which he said the startup football league should allow players to fight. The Detroit native also campaigned for a team in Detroit.
PLEASE ENTERTAIN THIS THOUGHT REGARDING THE @AAFIRON @AAFEXPRESS GAME: ALLOWING THE PLAYERS TO ACTUALLY FIGHT WOULD BE KEY TO LEAGUE’S SUCCESS LIKE HOCKEY, I WOULD WATCH EVERY GAME (EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO DETROIT TEAM YET – HINT). DON'T BLOW IT.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) March 26, 2019
Eminem’s tweet referenced the Birmingham Iron-Memphis Express game on Sunday in which Manziel made his league debut. Manziel responded to the tweet and told Eminem, “I got you” and added a goat emoji — indicating his respect for Eminem as a great rapper.
I got you https://t.co/oNXEErCxHD
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) March 26, 2019
Considering the AAF has shown it’s anything but a gimmick league and actually progressive from the NFL in some regards, we’re guessing Eminem’s wish for fights won’t come true. That’s a request he might want to direct to the XFL, which doesn’t have plans for a team in Detroit yet either.