Quarterback Johnny Manziel expressed interest last week in playing in the XFL when it begins in February. Only problem is they might not want the troubled quarterback.
The commissioner of the league, Oliver Luck, was interviewed by USA Today on Saturday, and said Manziel getting on one of the eight planned teams for the Spring league is not guaranteed.
“Well, I don’t know that yet,” Luck said. “That remains to be seen.”
There are currently workouts being held at the cities that will be hosting a team on an invitation-only basis. Manziel was not invited, but Luck said that has more to do with the fact that coaches are familiar with his work in other football leagues, and don’t need to bring him out.
“There are a lot of guys that played in the AAF and played all seven games or whatever they had,” Luck said. “We didn’t invite them here because we’ve got enough tape on them. So Johnny has some tape, right? Whether it’s Canada — and we have two coaches from the CFL, (Marc) Trestman and June Jones. Or there’s college. What he did obviously in the NFL.”
Other Quality QBs
What hurts Manziel’s chances of being drafted in October is that there are other equally as talented quarterbacks that don’t come with his baggage. Luck pointed to former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders backup Landry Jones.
“A lot of this, you have to kind of look a little bit ahead and think about the kind of talent that we’ll have, right?” Luck said. “So last week in Dallas, Landry Jones participated. He just got cut from the Raiders. He was sort of in a battle for I guess the backup spot to Derrick Carr, with Mike Glennon. So that might happen three or four times with others in similar situations. There’s a lot of good players in that league that very well could get cut. Like Landry. So we have to make sure we kind of keep that in mind as we think about how we structure our draft pool.”
Connection with June Jones
The 26-year-old’s chances could be helped with his relationship with a coach. Houston’s head coach is June Jones, who coached Manziel briefly when he was with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Manziel told KRIV-TV that playing again with Jones in his native Texas would be great for him.
“It would be very cool,” Manziel said. “Coach Jones is a great guy. Enjoyed him from an offensive standpoint, from a personal standpoint. He’s been there for me, especially when I was in Hamilton, getting to a new place, a different country. I enjoyed my time with him very thoroughly, and I think it would be a great opportunity.”
Jones said last month that Manziel should be available to teams for the draft.
“You know, Johnny is an interesting guy,” Jones told reporters. “He’s competitive, he’s proven he has won. He’s just been through a lot … I assume he’ll be in the draft pool.”
Some teams might shy away from Manziel because of his past. He was the Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M in 2012, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. His off the field struggles with alcohol are well chronicled. He played in the CFL for a season, but was waived for violating an unspecified aspect of his contract.