Johnny Manziel, who has been exiled from two football leagues in two different countries, will be joining the Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football, the league announced on Friday night.
The former Heisman Trophy winner’s last stop in football was a stint in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes. The team was forced to cut him and the league subsequently banned him from playing with any other team under mysterious circumstances. This, of course, followed a two-win career with the Cleveland Browns, who cut him amid his then-looming domestic abuse case.
Manziel joins an injury-plagued Express team that sits at 1-5 and is last in the Eastern Conference. You may or may not remember the Express trotted out Christian Hackenberg as the team’s starting quarterback, and arguably the biggest name the AAF had to offer. He was benched just three games into his career and replaced by Zach Mettenberger, who was injured in Saturday’s 22-9 loss to the Salt Lake Stallions.
Despite the fact that the team has gone through quarterbacks like Spinal Tap has gone through drummers—just with less of an audience—Memphis, along with the AAF, still chose to take a flyer out on Manziel after an “extensive background check” where they spoke with “many people familiar with his situation,” according to league co-founder Bill Polian. For reasons that aren’t too thoroughly explained, Polian believes that his operation will get things right with Manziel and that the quarterback’s known baggage won’t be an issue for hard-nosed Express coach, Mike Singletary.
That belief might be a bit lofty, Bill. Remember Singletary’s stint as a head coach in the NFL? He went 5-10 with the 49ers before getting shitcanned and decided to single out Vernon Davis as the reason Seneca Wallace crushed them in his first game as coach. Singletary went on a postgame rant about player caring about themselves before caring about the team. Safe to say he might have some preconceived notions about his new quarterback.
But sure, this time things will work out with Manziel and everyone involved.