Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel "happy" with first taste of CFL
Johnny Manziel says he's content with his life in the CFL after completing his first season.
The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, who began the season on the bench with the Hamilton Tiger-cats, finished the year with eight starts for the Montreal Alouettes and a greater appreciation for the game north of the border.
“I'm happy here right now,'' Manziel told reporters on Sunday during the Alouettes' season-ending media availability.
“Football probably got to a point in the past for me where it was about money and I'm comfortable right now. I'm comfortable with a great group of teammates, I'm comfortable in a great city like Montreal.
“I'm happy being back on the field and I don't know if that would be the situation in another league. But I'm happy with where I'm at and what's going on and the opportunity to compete and play ball.''
Manziel made headlines across North America when he signed with Hamilton after a tempestuous and short-lived NFL career. But the 25-year-old saw zero regular-season action with the Tiger-cats before being dealt to Montreal on July 22.
He missed time with a concussion and lost six straight starts with the Als - he didn't throw his first TD pass until Sept. 30 in a home loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders - and secured his first win on Oct. 28 in a 40-10 rout of the visiting Toronto Argonauts.
Manziel said he started feeling more comfortable with the CFL style as the season went on.
“It's comfort all the way around,'' he said. “When I really feel comfortable with what I'm doing and what the scheme is and concepts that I've ran a million times before, you see a big difference in those plays and plays that are new to me that are more Cfl-based concepts.
“The more I got reps with those plays the more I felt better with the whole entirety of the playbook.''
Manziel made his eighth and final start of the season for Montreal on Saturday - a 30-28 win in Hamilton - completing four-of-five passes for 59 yards before giving way to Antonio Pipkin in the second quarter.
The 25-year-old finished the year with 106 completions in 165 attempts and threw 1,290 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is under contract for one more season with the Als. “I didn't really know what to expect when I got here, but this league has exceeded my expectations as far as talent and what kind of league this is,'' Manziel said. “It exceeded my expectations as to what kind of guys we have in this locker-room and what kind of people are in this organization.
“It's been a good learning experience . ... I'm understanding what this league is about scheme-wise and learning a lot of things I didn't know before. So great learning experience and I'm really looking forward to being able to piece that all together.''