Johnny Manziel’s two-and-a-half-year sabbatical from professional football came to an end when the former Heisman Trophy winner made his CFL debut with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night.
Considering it’s been 888 days since he last took the field and he’s had a mere two weeks to practice with his new team, Manziel didn’t didn’t need long to shake off the rust. The 25-year-old came off the bench to run 22 plays, going 9-of-12 for 80 yards and adding another 10 yards on the ground.
According to head coach June Jones, Manziel played well after such a long layoff.
“He did some good things,” Jones told The Star. “He’s got a game presence about him, as you guys know. He looked at the things, knew where he should have thrown the ball when he had a chance to, but it just comes from not being here quite as long as the rest of the guys. I didn’t call many downfield throws for him,” he said. “But obviously he scrambled around and made a couple plays … as we keep going I think he’ll keep getting better and better every time he plays.”
Manziel told reporters after the game that the night was about getting his feet wet and he was ultimately pleased with his performance.
“Today was good to get out there, feel the speed, see the zone coverages, see how it kind of plays out,” Manziel said. “But I feel like this is a good fit for me. I’m here for a reason, and I’m here to compete for a reason. I want to play in whatever capacity to help this team win, and I mean that honestly, whatever that is, you know?”