Earlier this month, Hamilton Tiger-Cats Coach June Jones said NFL castoff Johnny Manziel could be “the best player to ever play” in the Canadian Football League should he decide to take his talents north of the border. And now the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has been cleared to do exactly that.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement Thursday that the league is prepared to approve a contract for Manziel after reviewing his eligibility, a process that included an in-person interview:
“Since last summer, the Canadian Football League has been engaged in a thorough process to determine the eligibility of Johnny Manziel. This process has been conducted with the cooperation of Mr. Manziel and independent of the team which currently holds his CFL rights, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It has included an ongoing assessment by an independent expert on the issue of violence against women, a review by legal counsel, and an in-person interview of Mr. Manziel conducted by the Commissioner. As well, Mr. Manziel has been required to meet a number of conditions set by the league.
“As a result of this process, the Commissioner has now informed Mr. Manziel and the Tiger-Cats he is prepared to approve a contract for Mr. Manziel should one be negotiated.
“The process that led to this decision does, however, continue. Mr. Manziel has been informed he must continue to meet a number of conditions in order to remain eligible. These conditions, while extensive and exacting, remain confidential.”
Manziel’s NFL career lasted just two seasons and was marked by poor play and numerous off-field incidents. In April 2016, he was charged with misdemeanor assault over an incident involving his former girlfriend in Dallas. That charge was dismissed last month after Manziel attended an anger management course, domestic violence victim impact panel and court-approved rehab facility.
The Tiger-Cats have exclusive CFL rights to negotiate a contract with Manziel, and the team worked him out last year. Jeremiah Masoli, the team’s starting quarterback for the second half of last season, is set to become a free agent in February.
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