Johnny Manziel is returning to football ... in a league you probably haven't heard of

Shutdown Corner

Johnny Manziel’s attempt at an NFL comeback has an official start date and place: March 28, that’s when the ex-Heisman Trophy winner will participate in The Spring League, a three-week “elite development” league in Austin, Texas.

Manziel, who just this week revealed a bi-polar diagnosis and a renewed focus on football, told Bleacher Report about his decision to join The Spring League, adding that he thinks his best football is still ahead of him:

“Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege. The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition. I’d like to thank Brian Woods and The Spring League staff for this opportunity to play the game I love. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I’m 25 years old and I know my best football is ahead of me.”

There’s been plenty of chatter about what Manziel’s next step in football might be ever since he started talking about his “Comeback Szn” on Twitter. Some people joked he’d be perfect for the XFL reboot, but his criminal history might prevent him from playing in Vince McMahon’s football league in 2020. Opportunities in the CFL are on the table too. But Manziel is starting in Austin — which might feel familiar, since he was a star high-school quarterback in Texas and then won his Heisman at Texas A&M.

In the Spring League, four teams play two games each, April 7 and 14 after coming together on March 28. Think of it like a showcase. A good showing there could lead to an opportunity somewhere else for Manziel — maybe even the NFL. Last season, the first for The Spring League, 10 NFL teams were in attendance at games, scouting players. Other players who tried to use the Spring League to re-launch their careers include Fred Jackson, Ricky Stanzi, Kellen Winslow II and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Part of a comeback for Manziel is changing the public perception, which is why he’s also been posting workout videos like these on Twitter:

Johnny Manziel will play in The Spring League in Texas, might an NFL comeback be next? (AP)
Johnny Manziel will play in The Spring League in Texas, might an NFL comeback be next? (AP)

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter!

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