Johnny Manziel changed mind of skeptical coach while in AAF

(Photo by Joe Robbins/AAF/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/AAF/Getty Images) /

Johnny Manziel spent a couple of weeks in the AAF before it suspended operations, but that was enough to time change the mind of a skeptical coach.

It was supposed to be another step in his NFL comeback, but Johnny Manziel had his time in professional American football cut short when the Alliance of American Football, which he signed with after being released and banned from the CFL for an untold violation of his contract, suspended its operations only eight weeks into their first season.

He only ended up playing four drives for the Memphis Express before coming out of his second game after taking a knee to the head from a teammate while attempting to make a tackle after an interception, but the couple weeks of practice and his limited game action was enough to convince a skeptical coach to change his mind about Johnny Football.

Express quarterbacks coach David Lee was the quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets when Manziel was coming out in the 2014 NFL Draft. Then, as I’m sure others did as well due to the public perception of Manziel, Lee didn’t even put him on the Jets’ draft board, feeling Manziel was not reliable on the field. This according to an interview Lee did with the Toronto Sun.

Lee also had this to say:

"“I’m hoping and praying he gets another chance. My short experience with him was tremendous. 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."

Back in 2014, I was willing to go to war against anyone who claimed Manziel didn’t work hard or wouldn’t in the NFL. He was one of the hardest working guys on the team in college and it was clear how much he loved football to anyone who actually paid attention. Public perception based on Johnny’s brazen attitude on the field took made people think he was that same guy off the field.

Obviously his NFL career was derailed by other issues, and perhaps he needed that to happen to truly be reformed in people’s eyes.

The fact that he saw the field right away in the AAF is a testament to his work ethic. He was staying in playing shape in anticipation of his second season with the CFL, which is played over the summer. He was able to play and be effective with the Express because of this.

Ultimately, Manziel didn’t play all that well in the CFL in one season, and didn’t get a chance to do much in the AAF. He may have had his final shot at the NFL taken away from him. If no team is willing to take a chance on Super Bowl-winning quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it makes it difficult to believe a team would take that chance on Manziel without seeing him play.

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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.