Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel -- college star, pro-football flameout, and still marquee name -- could be eligible for the XFL's first draft, one of the league's newest head coaches said Monday.
June Jones, who was last an NFL head coach for the San Diego Chargers in 1998 and coached the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, was introduced as the head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Houston franchise and addressed the Manziel situation to reporters, according to CBS Sports.
“I had Johnny in Hamilton,” Jones said. “I enjoyed the five or six weeks. He played very good for me, actually. Johnny is an interesting guy. He's competitive. He's proven that he has won. He's just been through a lot in the last three or four years. That's kind of a league decision there, but definitely, I assume that he'll be in the draft pool. I assume that.”
It’s unclear whether the XFL would allow Manziel to play in the league. XFL owner Vince McMahon had previously said anyone with a criminal record would be prohibited from stepping onto an XFL field.
In 2012, Manziel was arrested for disorderly conduct, failure to produce identification and possession of a fictitious driver’s license after a fight in College Station, Texas. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to failure to produce identification and had the other charges dropped. Manziel did not serve any time in jail.
The once-promising passer would be a popular player for the Houston franchise given he won a Heisman Trophy for Texas A&M, which is just a few miles northwest of the city.
Manziel previously had stints with the CFL's Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, the NFL's Cleveland Browns and the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express. He’s also hinted at a possible NFL return.