Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton Ti-Cats’

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel admitted his CFL debut on Friday was a “humbling experience” after throwing four first-half interceptions against his former team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in a 50-11 defeat.

“It went just about as bad as it could possibly go,” said Manziel, according to TSN.

Manziel only participated in four practices with his new team following a July 22 trade before being thrown into the fire against Hamilton. However, he emphasized the poor outing Friday won’t derail his football comeback.

“Moving forward, this is only going to motivate me,” said Manziel. “I know this is a test. This is a test of my will and my drive, and I’ve put too much time and too much effort (in) to let this get away from me.”

The 25-year-old flashed the scrambling skills that earned him the nickname “Johnny Football” at Texas A&M, but he mostly looked unprepared for the speed of the game. He completed just 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards and no touchdowns to go along with his four picks.

“Bad days happen in football,” said Manziel.

Manziel will likely start his second CFL game on August 8 against the Ottawa RedBlacks.

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Johnny Manziel has made a very positive first impression on June Jones, head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised the last three weeks what a good teammate he is, how smart he is, how he sees the game,” Jones told David Newton of ESPN. “He should be playing in the National Football League and I believe he will when he gets through with us.”

Manziel reignited his career in May by signing a two-year contract with the Tiger-Cats after spending the last couple of years addressing his well-documented issues off the gridiron.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns first-round pick impressed in the preseason, but served as the backup quarterback for Jeremiah Masoli in Hamilton’s opening contest of the regular season.

“It’ll take two years,” Jones said of Manziel’s desired return to the NFL. “They’re (NFL executives, coaches) waiting to see that he’s taken care of his off-the-field problems.”

Jones also described Manziel as “humble,” and added that “he’s growing up every day.”

The 25-year-old Manziel is expected to be Masoli’s backup again Friday when the 0-1 Tiger-Cats take on the Edmonton Eskimos.

Johnny Manziel handed the ball off with seven seconds left in the first half of his CFL preseason debut Friday, watched his tailback get immediately tackled, then jogged toward the locker room as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

One problem: in the CFL, the clock must expire with a final play.

Manziel retreated to the huddle, took one more snap with the clock reading 0:00, then jogged off again with his teammates in tow.

“Still feeling it out. It’s a different game,” Manziel said afterward of the adjustment to Canadian football’s unique rules and rhythms.

He learned some important lessons against live fire Friday, and finished the game a respectable 9-of-11 passing for 80 yards with another 10 yards on two carries. Manziel made plays with his legs, found open receivers on scrambles, and showed flashes of why his new head coach, June Jones, suggested last year that Manziel will become the best player in CFL history.

At other times, Manziel looked very much like a player with a scant two weeks of practice under his belt, too often bailing out of the pocket by running backwards or into the arms of a waiting defender.

With his personal life back on track, Manziel has merely begun the process of rehabilitating his football acumen. If he’s ever to become Johnny Football again, he must first learn to become Johnny Canadian Football.

It won’t happen right away. Jones has made it clear Manziel will not start when the Tiger-Cats open their regular season June 16 in Calgary. A backup role behind former Oregon passer and seven-year CFL veteran Jeremiah Masoli is the best Manziel can do for now.

Indeed, it’s unrealistic to expect Manziel to take the CFL by storm. Doug Flutie and Warren Moon, quarterbacks who dominated in Canada before their NFL success, each needed a full season to adjust to the CFL and its eccentricities.

And Manziel has no reason to hurry. NFL teams will monitor his progress – scouts from at least two teams, including New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, were scheduled to attend Friday’s game – but Manziel’s deal with the Tiger-Cats ties him to the CFL for two seasons, meaning his next shot at the NFL won’t come until 2020.

For now, Manziel must focus on acclimating to CFL rules with the goal of eventually rediscovering the on-field magic that won him the Heisman Trophy as a freshman and made him a first-round pick in the NFL before it all came crashing down in a mess of booze, clandestine Vegas trips, and a domestic violence case.

For a place to focus on football and only football, Manziel couldn’t do much better than Hamilton. An hour down the highway from Toronto and its big-city vibe and temptations, Hamilton is sort of like a quainter Canadian Pittsburgh. Tim Hortons Field, home of the Tiger-Cats, towers among the red brick homes that surround it. Smokestacks of the steel mills are visible from almost every seat in the house. For $15, you can literally park on the front lawn of a home across from the stadium’s main entrance.

Hamilton’s blue-collar fans will embrace a hard worker on his second (or is it third?) chance, but they won’t put up with a diva. That’s one lesson Manziel appears to have taken to heart. He knows he can’t erase his past, and he’s made peace with that. He’s motivated by it.

On multiple occasions Friday, Toronto Argonauts defenders reminded Manziel of his infamy – and he gave it right back.

“I’m not here to be pushed over,” Manziel said after the game. “You can come at me because my name’s in the papers, my name’s on TV. You can come at me. I’m not backing down. I’m here for a reason. I’m here to play ball. I’m not going to be treated like s—.”

This is a long game for Manziel. He started at the very bottom, and he has a long way to go before he approaches anything close to the top. He’s finally on the way up, though.

Maybe the clock really did hit 0:00 on Manziel’s career, but in Canada, you still get to run one more play.

Johnny Manziel is set to make his CFL debut with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Friday’s preseason game against the Toronto Argonauts.

It’s been more than two years since Manziel played his final NFL game with the Cleveland Browns, but he’s ready to get going.

“It’s going to be fun just getting back on the field, getting the chance to play, take some snaps, and do what I love doing,” Manziel told reporters Thursday, after the team’s final walk-through. “I’m excited from a personal standpoint just to get back, take some snaps, and run around.”

But head coach June Jones reaffirmed a previous statement that he views Jeremiah Masoli as the Ti-Cats starter for the entirety of the coming season, by saying he’ll start Friday’s game.

“Masoli is going to play until I feel good about it,” Jones said of the preseason game. “And then the rest of the game will be whatever we decide – 15 plays each, or whatever.”

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones said Monday he expects Johnny Manziel to make his CFL debut Friday in the preseason game against the Toronto Argonauts, according to TSN.

June praised Manziel for being mentally “plugged in” since his arrival north of the border, but said he won’t force the former NFL first-round pick into action if he doesn’t feel the passer is fully prepared.

Jeremiah Masoli sits atop the Tiger-Cats’ quarterback depth chart after starting 12 games in 2017. Manziel, meanwhile, is set to battle for his place in a quarterback room that also contains Vernon Adams Jr.Bryant Moniz, and Dane Evans.

More than a week after his agent’s deadline for contract negotiations with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and more than a month after the CFL club offered him a deal, quarterback Johnny Manziel still isn’t ruling out playing in Canada in 2018.

“It’s definitely still on the table,” Manziel said recently on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “I feel like, as with anything, it takes a little bit of time. The season just ended for the NFL, the CFL ended a couple months before. We’re just taking some time and not rushing into anything and making sure everything is the right fit.”

The Tiger-Cats still own Manziel’s rights, with January’s contract offer keeping him on the 45-man negotiation list.

Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are far apart in contract negotiations, TSN’s Farhan Lalji reports.

The ex-Cleveland Browns signal-caller is reportedly seeking an offer in the $500,000 range, while the Ticats proposed a $150,000 deal with some minor incentives earlier in January.

Manziel wants to be paid like a starter, but Hamilton never took his $500,000 demand seriously, added Lalji.

Hamilton remains optimistic about bringing Manziel for the 2018 season, though negotiations may continue right up until the start of training camp.