SportsPulse: NFL insider Jarrett Bell looks at the possibility of Johnny Manziel ever returning to the NFL and why Canada may be his best – and only – option to get back into football. USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Manziel is returning to professional football — for a few weeks this spring, anyway.
The Spring League, a developmental football league in Texas, announced Wednesday that Manziel will participate in its upcoming season, which will feature a total of four games played among four teams.
“Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone,” the former Heisman Trophy winner said in a statement. “My goal is to make it back to the NFL, and I realize I have to earn that privilege. The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition …
“I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I’m 25 years old, and I know my best football is ahead of me.”
The Spring League will feature a pair of doubleheaders in Austin, Texas, on April 7 and April 14. The league bills itself as a scouting event where NFL hopefuls can be evaluated by league scouts and team personnel from other professional leagues. The games will be streamed live by Turner Sports.
Manziel, who won the Heisman as a freshman at Texas A&M, has not appeared in a professional football game since 2015, when he last took the field for the Cleveland Browns. He has repeatedly said his goal is to one day return to the NFL, and until recently, he had been believed to be negotiating contract terms with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Manziel, who made headlines for a domestic violence charge and a penchant for partying in recent years, told ABC News in a television interview earlier this week that he has stopped drinking and is taking medication for bipolar disorder.
“I’m working to try and make sure that I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me,” Manziel told Good Morning America.