Johnny Manziel plays first Spring League game, throws for touchdown

April 8, 2018 GMT

Johnny Manziel made his debut in The Spring League and went 9-for-15 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown in two quarters of football against other NFL hopefuls Saturday in Austin, Texas.

The Spring League, in its second year of operation, calls itself “an elite developmental league and scouting event for professional football talent.” It arranges games for players who aspire to make it to the NFL -- or, in Manziel’s case, make it back there.

Manziel appears earnest in his commitment to returning to his football career. The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback lasted two seasons with the Cleveland Browns but was cut prior to the 2016 season after a string of incidents and a domestic violence charge.

In February, Manziel revealed he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said he got himself sober and planned to come back to the NFL.

Spring League CEO Brian Woods said 17 NFL teams have sent scouts to the league’s practices. If the NFL isn’t in the cards for Manziel in 2018, he said he would play in the Canadian Football League instead on a two-year commitment. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats own Manziel’s CFL rights.

“The message that I’m sending is showing up every day and going to meetings,” Manziel said. “Being engaged in everything that is going on during practice and in the game. I can’t control what is going on [with NFL teams’ interest], and I don’t know what’s going on in NFL meetings. If that’s the case, if the NFL is something that pops up, cool. If not, I’m going to work until I get back there.”