With his Spring League stint in the books, Johnny Manziel is left to ponder what comes next in his quest to play quarterback.
On Thursday evening, the former Cleveland Browns first-rounder played in his second and final game with the developmental league in Austin, Texas, rushing for a pair of touchdowns and going 10 of 16 for 188 yards with an interception.
Manziel must now decide whether or not to accept his standing offer from the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats — a two-year commitment — or wait for an NFL team to come calling. That decision will come sooner than later with the Tiger-Cats set to launch camp on May 16.
“I’m straight back to working out and doing what I did when I came here,” Manziel said of his future to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. “Everything else will sort itself out. I’m trying to do what I can do to come back to playing football whatever capacity that is.
“We know when deadlines are. We have another month or so to work out and not worry about anything.”
Manziel’s finest two-play stretch Thursday started with a 50-yard pass down the right sideline to former Baylor receiver Antwan Gooley. One snap later, Johnny vaulted into the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown scamper. Manziel finished the first half with 8-of-10 passing for 145 yards.
“It’s been beyond my wildest dreams,” Manziel told Bishop of his return to the field. “There was a time there I didn’t know if I would actually do it. … I’m extremely happy just to be healthy, just to get to throw the ball around. I’ve missed this.”
The former Texas AM star admitted he’s still getting used to playing again, but believes he “showed I can still throw the ball around.”
Manziel hasn’t appeared in an NFL tilt since playing for the Browns on Dec. 27, 2015. He was released soon after, falling away from football and deep into a battle with addiction and a bipolar disorder.
Rolling today with a branded war cry around his return — #ComebackSZN — Manziel hopes to hear from an NFL team. Either way, though, he’s happy to be back.
“I got to do exactly what I want to do,” said Manziel, “and what I’ve been missing for the last two years.”