Johnny Manziel has found his way back to the United States, signing with the Memphis Express in the new Alliance of American Football League (AAF).
The quarterback, 26, is hoping to once again revitalize his career after stints in the National and Canadian Football Leagues. He was claimed off waivers and has an opportunity to start after the quarterback for Memphis, Zach Mettenberger, was injured the same day of Manziel's signing.
Memphis has a 1-5 record this year and is in need of some quarterback help. The Express already have started three quarterbacks this year and Manziel is scheduled to report to the team Sunday, according to ESPN.
The well-known quarterback has had a rocky tenure, both personally and professionally, since being a star quarterback at Texas A&M. He's had reported drug problems during his time in college, he was accused of hitting and threatening his ex-girlfriend in 2016, and even gave President Trump advice on how to deal with "haters." His sexual assault case was dropped after he completed anger management and substance abuse treatment.
Early last year, Manziel opened up about his past struggles with alcohol and depression.
“I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression,” Manziel said on "Good Morning America." “When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid … sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone.
“You are left staring at the ceiling by yourself, and in that depression and back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you made in your life. What did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced?”
He hopes this new opportunity back in the U.S. will be the fresh start he needs. After playing on two different teams, it's possible the third time's a charm. The Memphis Express posted a welcoming tweet today and yesterday Manziel retweeted a post from the AAF welcoming him to the league.
Manziel was released by the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL last month due to violations of "the agreement which made him eligible to play." The general manager of the Alouettes, Kavin Reed, wouldn't give specifics about how Manziel violated the conditions of his agreement with the league
After being released from the CFL, Manziel told the Barstool Sports Comeback SZN podcast that he was interested in playing in the AAF or the XFL."It's great for football, it's great for the guys who need more opportunity, need more film and time to play, Manziel said. "I don't know exactly what my exact steps will be for the next years coming up, but at least there's a lot of options."
He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and released just two years later. His underwhelming play, along with his reported partying antics and domestic issues, was among the reported reasons for his dismissal.
The AAF co-founder Bill Polian believes the coach of the Express, former NFL player and coach, Mike Singletary, will be a good mentor for Manziel to lean on, according to ESPN.
"We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we've always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers," Polian said in a statement Saturday night. "We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance."