The Montreal Alouettes of the CFL last week released quarterback Johnny Manziel, casting even more doubt over whether the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner ever will return to the NFL.
There’s still an outside chance Manziel winds up back in the league at some point, though, and ESPN’s Mike Sando on Monday pointed to the Oakland Raiders as a potential landing spot based on what he heard over the past week at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here’s what Sando wrote about Manziel, who apparently has a good connection with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden:
Gruden’s relationship with Manziel and affinity for the quarterback made one exec sure the Raiders would be the team to sign him. Manziel’s recent CFL demise was the genesis for that discussion.
Manziel, a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2014, last played in the NFL in 2015. The former Texas A&M star, who became known as much for his hard-partying lifestyle as his on-field success, was cut in March 2016 following a series of off-field incidents.
Johnny Football now claims to be sober, and the CFL offered him an opportunity to revive his football career. The 26-year-old squandered that opportunity by violating one of the conditions the league had set for him, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said last week.
Manziel since indicated in a tweet he’s looking forward to “exploring new options within the United States,” sparking speculation he could join the Alliance of American Football (AAF) or the Xtreme Football League (XFL). But maybe an NFL team — like the Raiders — will come knocking.
After all, should we really put anything past Gruden at this point?