— The Sports Xchange —
Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel is headed to the short-season developmental Spring League.
The Spring League announced Wednesday that Manziel has signed a deal to play in the two-weekend showcase in Austin, Texas, from March 28-April 15.
Manziel will be part of the Spring League South squad, which has games scheduled for April 7 and April 14, per the league’s press release.
“Back in Texas where it all started,” Manzier posted on Twitter. “I’ll be joining @TheSpringLeague in Austin to get #ComebackSZN started! Can’t wait to get back on the field and show NFL scouts what I can do! #cantwaitforspring”
According to the the league’s website, it features “four teams comprised almost exclusively of players with NFL experience.” The Spring League has included former Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro and ex-New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow II.
“We’re excited to have such a dynamic player in Johnny Manziel taking part in The Spring League,” league CEO Brian Woods said in a statement. “We believe our platform is the ideal forum for Mr. Manziel to enact his NFL comeback.”
Manziel admitted earlier this week that he is addressing the issues that have derailed his playing career and plagued his life, including bipolar disorder. He said he has “made my share of mistakes,” but is thankful for the opportunity to play in the Spring League.
“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,” Manziel said. “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.”
Launched last year, the Spring League provides a pre-draft showcase for available players who could land on NFL rosters after the draft. Last year, the Spring League played all of its games at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
Manziel was offered a contract to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last month, but the sides have yet to come to terms.
“We wish Johnny Manziel well as he embarks upon a return to football,” the Tiger-Cats said in a statement on Wednesday.
Manziel hasn’t received any interest from the NFL after being released by the Cleveland Browns after two troubled seasons — on and off the field. Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy while at Texas A&M, was the 22nd overall selection in the 2014 draft by the Browns.
The 25-year-old announced during the Good Morning America interview that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year ago.
Manziel, who played 14 games for the Browns and completed 57 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and seven fumbles, had bigger problems off the field.
He was investigated by Dallas police in 2016 for domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend, but the charges were dropped when he agreed to undergo counseling.
Manziel entered a rehabilitation center in 2015 and was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.