FILE PHOTO: Aug 3, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws a pass against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the third quarter at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
January 4, 2021
(Reuters) – Former college standout Johnny Manziel, whose much-hyped NFL career fizzled after two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, will return to the gridiron with Fan Controlled Football, the startup league said on Wednesday.
Manziel, who was one of the most electrifying college quarterbacks of all-time before moving to the NFL, will make his FCF debut when the inaugural season of a four-team league where fans call plays and make roster decisions kicks off on Feb. 13.
“Football has always been a huge part of my life, and the opportunity to join the FCF was too good to pass up,” Manziel, 28, said in a news release.
“FCF is doing something new and original in sports, a league that is truly all about the fans and letting them call all the shots. I can’t wait to get started – this is going to be fun.”
Manziel, once a dynamic player on the field and outspoken off it, set several records in his rookie season at Texas A&M in 2012 and went on to become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy as college football’s most outstanding player.
He became known as “Johnny Football” during his standout college years but eventually saw his reputation for partying overshadow his career with Cleveland, who selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Browns eventually cut Manziel in March 2016 after years of erratic play on the field and an off-the-field lifestyle that led to a trip to a rehabilitation centre after his first season.
In his two NFL seasons, Manziel appeared in 14 games during which he threw for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
He went on to spend time in the Canadian Football League and last played with the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express in March 2019.
All FCF games will be held at a single Atlanta facility and the setup is built for high-scoring action given a 7-vs-7 style of football on a 50-yard yard field with 10-yard end zones.
The FCF said its teams will be comprised of players who have experience playing in the Canadian Football League, XFL, Indoor Football League and U.S. college football.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)