Johnny Manziel made his first football start since 2015 on Friday night, but Johnny Football made only fleeting appearances for the Montreal Alouettes, replaced by a guy whose frustrations were apparent in a four-interception first half.

Manziel took the field for the Canadian Football League’s worst team after only four practices, and his rust, his lack of familiarity with the Alouettes’ playbook and the team’s poor play were painfully apparent in a 50-11 loss to the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats. For the first time in his career, he was intercepted four times, and Montreal trailed his former team 38-3 at halftime. Those interceptions left him alternately throwing his helmet and slapping the ground in frustration.

For a Friday night in August, there was plenty of social media note taken of Manziel’s appearance, with too many comments to mention containing the letters “LOL.”

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But there was more to it than that. There were flickers of the scrambling quarterback who was so electrifying when he won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, but there also was little he could accomplish with so much rust and so little familiarity with his new teammates in his first regular season game since Dec. 27, 2015, with the Cleveland Browns.

“I’m going to go out and throw the s— out of the ball, there is no doubt about that,” Manziel, who was traded to Montreal on July 23, said on the Comeback SZN podcast. “I sat down all [last] weekend with the coaches and put in some things that I feel like: ‘Hey, this is what I did at [Texas] A&M; this is what I felt like in Cleveland we had in our playbook that I liked. These are things that I’ve repped a lot in the past.’ . . . We put some stuff in that I felt like I knew and I’ve repped a lot in the past.”

It was a great idea, in theory.

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“He can definitely make plays, but he’s got to be smart with the football,” Coach Mike Sherman said at halftime (via ESPN). “A few of the interceptions were tipped balls off two other defenders, but we’ve got to be smart with the football.”

With the score 47-3 in favor of Hamilton in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, Manziel was replaced by Vernon Adams Jr. Manziel completed 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards and the four picks against Jerry Glanville’s* defense.

(*Yes, that Jerry Glanville, known for his still omnipresent shades, for his black clothes and for leaving tickets for Elvis during his time in the NFL.)

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