Ti­cats re­ject Manziel af­ter talks with CFL

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

Quar­ter­back Johnny Manziel, un­der a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cloud from last year, would have been sub­jected to an as­sess­ment by an ex­pert in vi­o­lence against women be­fore be­ing able to play for the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats, the CFL says.

Kent Austin, Hamil­ton’s vi­cepres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions, con­firmed Wed­nes­day that Manziel had a work­out with the Ti­cats last week in Buf­falo, N.Y. But the team de­cided against of­fer­ing the 24-year-old a con­tract.

How­ever, the Ti­cats did make con­tact with the league about their in­ter­est in Manziel.

As part of that dis­cus­sion, the team agreed to a vol­un­tary as­sess­ment un­der the CFL’s do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pol­icy.

Manziel was charged in Jan­uary 2016 af­ter be­ing ac­cused of hit­ting and threat­en­ing for­mer girl­friend Colleen Crow­ley.

He reached a dis­missal agree­ment that re­quired him to com­plete an anger man­age­ment class, at­tend a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence im­pact panel and par­tic­i­pate in a sub­stance-abuse pro­gram.

“The Tiger-Cats did in­form the com­mis­sioner, Randy Am­brosie, of their in­ten­tion to eval­u­ate Mr. Manziel and they and the com­mis­sioner dis­cussed a thor­ough process Mr. Manziel would have to go through, in­clud­ing an as­sess­ment per­formed by an ex­pert in vi­o­lence against women,” a league spokesper­son said.

“No de­ter­mi­na­tion was made be­cause the Ti­cats de­cided not to of­fer Manziel a con­tract.”

Un­der the CFL con­sti­tu­tion, the com­mis­sioner has the right to re­ject the con­tract of a player he feels “brings dis­re­pute to the league or the game of foot­ball.”

The CFL could still sub­ject Manziel to a re­view process if and when the Ti­cats — or any team — de­cide to sign him to a con­tract.

But Austin said the Ti­cats aren’t in­ter­ested in bring­ing Manziel in for the time be­ing.

“Johnny did some good things ... on the field he looked fine,” Austin said.

“He’s ob­vi­ously a tal­ented kid,” Austin added. “We’re not in­ter­ested in sign­ing Johnny right now. That won’t hap­pen, that’s not im­mi­nent. We’re not sign­ing Johnny right now.”

Manziel has been on the Ti­cats ne­go­ti­a­tion list since his days at Texas A&M, where he be­came the first fresh­man to cap­ture the Heis­man Tro­phy.

The Cleve­land Browns se­lected him in the first round, No. 22 over­all, in the 2014 NFL draft and he spent two sea­sons with the club, post­ing a 2-6 record as a starter be­fore be­ing re­leased March 11, 2016.

But Manziel has made head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons off the foot­ball field. He was dogged by re­ports of al­co­hol and drug use and spent 73 days at in treat­ment for an un­spec­i­fied ad­dic­tion.

News of Manziel’s work­out with Hamil­ton comes two days af­ter the fran­chise re­scinded its con­tro­ver­sial hir­ing of for­mer Bay­lor head coach Art Briles.

Less than 12 hours af­ter ap­point­ing Briles as its as­sis­tant head coach, the Ti­cats re­versed the de­ci­sion fol­low­ing a firestorm of crit­i­cism.

But Austin de­fended the de­ci­sion to work out Manziel.

“We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to eval­u­ate ev­ery sin­gle player that’s on our (ne­go­ti­a­tion) list,” Austin said.

GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO

Johnny Manziel, cel­e­brat­ing af­ter a 2015 touch­down by his Cleve­land Browns of the NFL, has made head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons. DREW ED­WARDS

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Johnny Manziel had a work­out with the Ti­cats last week.

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