Johnny Manziel is playing football again, but don’t call it a comeback.
The controversial quarterback will be playing in a new football league called Fan Controlled Football. And yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like. Fans control essentially every aspect of the league from drafting the players to calling the plays. It’s like a mix of fantasy football and Madden franchise mode.
While the league isn’t filled with household names, one player stands out from the rest: Johnny Manziel.
It’s somewhat surprising to see Manziel back playing football. After a short stint in the Alliance of American Football league, the former Heisman trophy winner appeared to be done with football. The XFL didn’t want to sign him, and Manziel wasn’t interested in playing in the league under The Rock’s management.
“I’m retired, dude,” Manziel told TMZ Sports last year. “Listen, anything The Rock touches is gonna be gold as always. But, I think football is a little bit behind me.”
But Manziel came out of “retirement” to play in the Fan Controlled Football league. Why? We’ll get into that below.
Why Johnny Manziel is playing in Fan Controlled Football league
Manziel signed with the league at the end of December, saying he was excited about what they had to offer.
“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 said, via ESPN. “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.”
In short, Manziel likes the fact this league is football-centric without being too much. He can essentially just join and have fun.
“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. They don’t want me to change who I am or anything else. They want to come out, put a good product out and be fun with it.”
Will Johnny Manziel make an NFL comeback?
Even though this is technically a return to football, don’t expect Manziel to make an actual comeback based off his playing time in this league.
“This isn’t me trying to be a comeback, redemption-type of tour for me to go back and play football anymore moving forward,” Manziel told USA Today Sports. “After I play here, I probably won’t pick up a football again for another year. Two. Or maybe even longer than that. This is just an opportunity that got presented to me to get around a bunch of good guys who I feel like we’ll make great business connections with and I’ll have a lot of fun while I’m doing it.”
In fact, even if Manziel had a stellar outing in this league and an NFL team came calling, he’d turn it down.
“Even if I got an opportunity to go back to the NFL, I don’t think I would take it,” he told USA Today. “I don’t think it’s my path. I don’t think it’s what’s meant to be. I think there are a million other avenues and things I can do in life. I’ve been good as a football player in the past. I want to be good at something else in life, and I’ve tried to be patient and not force things like I have in the past and let life just come to me. And I’m a believer in something will pop up in my life that I know I’m going to love the way that I loved football at one point in time.”
What team is Johnny Manziel playing for?
Johnny Manziel plays for the Zappers in the Fan Controlled Football league.
He’s one of the few players franchise tagged in the league, which means he’ll remain on the same team throughout the season. In this league, teams will get two franchise players (selected by team owners) and fans get one keeper after the first game. All other players go into a draft pool where they have a chance to be selected to a new team on a weekly basis.
How much money is Johnny Manziel making in Fan Controlled Football?
As we explained in our salary story, players in the Fan Controlled Football league make a weekly minimum of $400 to $750, plus room and board. It’s possible the league is paying Manziel more based on his name and attention he brings to the league, but that’s just speculation. As far as we know, Manziel is making as much as everyone else.