Johnny Manziel Returning to Football, Joins Startup League

Johnny Manziel is making a comeback. The former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback told ESPN this week he is returning to football and joining a new league called Fan Controlled Football. The startup league will kick off the season in February and will feature 7-on-7 games where fans set the rosters and call the plays.

“The more I heard about what this was going to be, the more I felt it was going to be something that was just very fun,” Manziel, 28, said. “It’s going to be very fan-oriented and something I could get behind without being extremely, extremely, extremely serious, the way that my football career has been in the past.”

Manziel was able to join the league after connected with FCF co-founder Sohrob Farudi through a mutual friend, comedian Rob Menery. The last time Manziel played football was in 2019 for the Alliance of American Football. He also played in The Spring League and Canadian Football League after being released by the Browns in 2015.

“Life gives you opportunities sometimes to do something that you would still like to do if it was in a different capacity,” Manziel said. “This has a lot of potential to just be a good time and still be football-centric. They’re going to let the people [who] join this league be who they are and have fun with it and be a little bit more free than what football is sometimes. That’s definitely what appealed to me.”

In July, Manziel said it was unlikely he would return to football. He told the Lubbock Avalance-Journal that returning to the football field is “in the past, probably, is the way I’d characterize it. I’ve finally got to a point where I’m trying to achieve happiness in life, not happiness on the football field.” Manziel went on to say he knows people want him to give football one more show, but right now, he is “happy and I’m doing the right things to try and put a smile on my face every day, and that means more to me than going out and grinding on a football field.” Manziel was drafted by the Browns No. 22 overall in 2014. During his time at Texas A&M, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy and was named Associated Press Player of the Year in 2012.

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