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Johnny Manziel says Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career not ‘done,’ could see himself coaching

Johnny Manziel, left, talks with former Aggies teammates Sean Porter, center, and Mike Evans during a Texas A&M-Kentucky basketball game in March. (Sam Craft/AP)
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As Colin Kaepernick’s name gets invoked each time there’s an NFL job opening, seemingly everyone has an opinion on the former 49er. Among the latest is Johnny Manziel, a fellow free agent quarterback who praised Kaepernick’s abilities in an interview that touched on his own situation and plans.

Speaking recently with sports blogger and Fox Sports contributor Clay Travis at the International Football Betting Conference in Costa Rica, Manziel said of Kaepernick, “Even if he’s not good enough to start, he’s good enough to be on an NFL roster, for sure.” Manziel added that he is also still trying to return to the NFL, but that he had also considered the CFL, wouldn’t rule out taking a stab at baseball and could eventually see himself coaching in sports.

“That’s a guy that, if we go back five years, the Ravens are playing the Niners in the Super Bowl, and the next year they’re playing the Seahawks in the NFC championship game, so that’s a guy who’s gotten a team to that point multiple years,” Manziel said of Kaepernick. “Who may have had a couple of down years these past couple of years, but at the same time, he has a track record of proving that he can go out and play.

“So I don’t think his career is done, I think once that other stuff quiets down a little bit, he’ll be okay, even though last year was a little bit of a bizarre year, with everything that went on.”

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Asked whether he wants to play again in the NFL, Manziel replied, “Yeah, it’s a goal of mine. I think, obviously, being 24, I feel that I still have some time, and that won’t be my last opportunity, so I’m looking for a new situation.”

The former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, who played just two seasons with the Browns before more or less quitting football to hit the celebrity party circuit full-time, appears to have turned a corner in the past year. He vowed to sober up, began working out again regularly, re-signed with the agent who had dumped him and got engaged.

Manziel told Travis that what’s changed is “probably just getting myself away from a little bit of a college lifestyle, some friends that I had, and just getting away from the recklessness a little bit.” He said that the situation in Cleveland wasn’t exactly what he would have “drawn up,” but “those were the cards that I was dealt, and now I have to live with what happened, and accept the responsibility of everything that’s gone on in the past, and be able to put it behind me.”

“At the same time, dwelling on it is not really going to help me get back to where I want to be,” he added.

As for the CFL, Manziel, who reportedly had a January tryout with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, said, “That’s definitely something that I’ve looked into.” In fact, he said that he “probably would have taken that route” if he hadn’t gotten some interest from unspecified NFL teams.

“I don’t want to be out of football too long without playing, it’s not fun to kind of sit around on a Saturday and a Sunday, as you’ve been playing those days for the past six years of your life,” Manziel said. “There’s only so much time I can sit around and watch college football.”

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Asked about a possible baseball career, as another former Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, is famously pursuing, Manziel said he’s talked to the Padres, the team that made him a 28th-round draft pick in 2014. He also mentioned “a good friend who’s a minority owner in the Rangers,” and said that “maybe” he would try baseball if he felt that he had gotten to a point where he couldn’t make a go of it in football but felt he had some athleticism left.

“But for right now, I think I’ll leave that to Tebow,” Manziel chuckled.

In the event that he isn’t able to resume his football career, Manziel claimed he would still “do something involved with sports,” saying, “I can’t get away from it.”

“I’ve had to ask myself that a little bit as of late over the past year, but at the same time I’d want to be involved in sports in some way, whether it’s coaching, whether it’s doing something like that,” he said. “So I think that’d be my route.”

Manziel said he would “probably” prefer to coach at the college level, and when asked how coachable he had been, replied that he was “hardheaded.”

“I look back right now and think about how big of just a kid I was,” Manziel told Travis. “And a lot of regrets I have, especially with my second year in college, not treating it kind of the way [I did] my first year.”

Those comments echoed some remarks Manziel made last month, when he said of his time away from the NFL, “I know the situation that I put myself in. I know the year I took off and obviously the mistakes that I made.”

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