I guess in the new world where we have a reportedly (or at least "last we checked a few months ago" status) sober Johnny Manziel, this is how it will go — every few months, we will get smoke from the Johnny Football camp that he has the itch to play in the National Football League again, even going so far as to say he has spoken with teams about a return.
Keep in mind that "speaking to a team in the NFL" could mean something as innocent as a courtesy cup of coffee with Saints head coach Sean Payton during Super Bowl week in Houston a few months back. (SIDEBAR: Johnny Manziel winding up in a city with the French Quarter might give ESPN the remainder of whatever material it is they are waiting for to do a Manziel 30 for 30.)
That said, over the past few months, the only rumblings from Team Johnny that we've seen or heard are the various Instagram posts on a) his workouts in Southern California tossing the ball around with Odell Beckham Jr. and b) how in love he is with his fiancée, Bre Tiesi, who herself loves two things that are a hit in most guys' books — running around topless and bringing along friends who like to run around topless.
So life is certainly better for Manziel now than it was about a year ago, when pictures would surface on a seemingly weekly basis, pictures in which he looked like a zombie version of Johnny Manziel, possibly malnourished and ill. Today he is in love, he's put weight back on and there are topless women in his entourage. Whether Manziel has added a dose of self-awareness to the "new him" remains to be seen, but over this past weekend, he was certainly saying the right things.
On Saturday, Manziel made an appearance at the National Fantasy Football Convention in Fair Park (which seems weird on paper — hey folks, come on out to the fantasy football convention and meet this player that there is zero chance of you drafting in your fantasy league! — except it's Johnny Football), and said he's been in touch with NFL teams about a possible return (hat tip to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News on the tweets):
Johnny Manziel says he's had a couple conversations with NFL teams about getting back in the league— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 15, 2017
Now, onto the "saying the right things" part:
Johnny Manziel on getting back in the NFL: pic.twitter.com/ybCkMA8hak— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 15, 2017
Johnny Manziel on how much he misses playing football: pic.twitter.com/w2H9vQgR1E— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 15, 2017
A couple of thoughts here:
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1. I have no idea if Manziel's camp is in touch with the Canadian Football League, or if Manziel has any desire to go there, but if he is as hungry to get back into the NFL as he claims to be, then he would be wise to give the CFL a shot, and try to go the Doug Flutie route, where he goes up there and wrecks shop on the CFL's much bigger field and then perhaps parlays that into an NFL tryout. I can't imagine an NFL team RIGHT NOW wanting the Manziel-size media distraction for such little payoff, which brings me directly to my next point...
2. I kind of want some team to sign Manziel (or even just bring him in for a tryout) in the next few weeks just to see the mushroom cloud on social media that would ensue from people who think Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed. Until now, the hardcore Kaepernick supporters lament every other quarterback signed in free agency as some sort of affront to Kaepernick, screaming "KAEP'S BETTER THAN THAT GUY!" Until now, most of the quarterbacks in question provided a healthy debate as to whether or not they were better or worse than Kaepernick. Manziel would be different, though.
A team's signing Manziel, who was a bad player when he was active and hasn't been active in 18 months, would certainly create a new dynamic in the Kaepernick banishment discussion.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.