Johnny Manziel could start right away with AAF’s Memphis Express

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Johnny Manziel has found a home in professional football again, signing with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football.

A former Heisman winner is joining the Alliance of American Football. Johnny Manziel officially signed with the AAF over the weekend, and thanks to the San Antonio Commanders waiving his rights, Johnny Football is landing with the Memphis Express.

Manziel set the world on fire in his two-year career with Texas A&M football. Despite playing just two seasons, Johnny ended his career No. 2 in both passing yards and passing touchdowns in school history. Five of the other top six passers in school history played at least three seasons. Had Johnny played his true freshman season he would have rewrote the record books.

After declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft, Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick. His NFL career was marred by off-the-field issues and the Browns released Manziel after just two seasons amid a domestic abuse case plus problems with alcohol and drug usage.

He recommitted to football after taking care of his personal life. The CFL came calling and gave Johnny hope of an NFL comeback by signing him to a two-year deal. He started with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but then was traded to the Montreal Alouettes to a familar face. Head coach Mike Sherman, who recruited Johnny to Aggieland, started Manziel a few games to mixed results.

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Then, mysteriously, the CFL forced the Alouettes to release Johnny due to violating one of the terms of his contract to play in the CFL, which has thus far not been made public information. Maybe it was a ploy for Johnny to get back to America and play in the AAF, or maybe he actually did have some issues, but the AAF claims to have done their due diligence and signed him to a contract over the weekend.

AAF Co-founder Bill Polian had the following to say on Manziel, per a statement by the league:

"We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to the Alliance of American Football, which we’ve always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers. We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance."

Manziel has an opportunity to start right away with the Express. Former Penn State quarterback  Christian Hackenberg left a lot to be desired as he started the AAF season as the guy for the Express. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger then took over in the third game after Hackenberg was benched. Mettenberger hurt his ankle on the first place of the Express’ last game, but was not replaced by Hackenberg, but rather Brandon Silvers of Troy State.

The Express are the worst team in the league at 1-5. They are in desperate need of good quarterback play and are seemingly ready to give Manziel a shot right away, as long as he’s still in game shape. Hackenberg was possibly a bigger bust than Manziel, although not as high of a draft pick, and it’s clear Mettenberger’s injury is serious.

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This move benefits the AAF and the Memphis Express. Manziel was an excellent quarterback at the collegiate level, so he has a chance to be good, maybe great at the AAF level. It will certainly draw ratings and revenue for the AAF, too. Hopefully this works out in reality as well as it does on paper.

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.