Johnny Manziel returned to the professional gridiron Friday night for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ preseason opener and flashed a bit of promise against the Toronto Argonauts at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.
HEEERRRREEESSS JOHHNNNNNY! @JManziel2 is now under centre! #CFLGameDay https://t.co/DmOsbGnXAk
Manziel, who last suited up in 2015 for the Cleveland Browns, finished his CFL debut 9-of-11 passing for 80 yards after entering as the second-string signal-caller in the second quarter.
Jeremiah Masoli drew the start ahead of Manziel and completed eight of 13 passes for 115 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions.
Once Masoli’s evening came to a close, Manziel entered to a nice ovation from the home crowd:
CFL on TSN @CFLonTSN
Here he comes! Johnny Manziel is entering the game for the @Ticats! https://t.co/KvLL23JX9X
The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner proceeded to fire a nine-yard strike to former Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders on his first snap before his opening drive ended in a turnover on downs:
Johnny Manziel off to a good start in a @Ticats uniform. https://t.co/wiWE8lzHO6
Following a 3-of-3 start, Manziel trotted out for a second drive that ended in one of Hamilton’s seven first-half turnovers:
Mike Rodak @mikerodak
Johnny Manziel’s second possession wasn’t pretty. He got pass off after bad snap on first play, but WR dropped it. Then Manziel completed his second pass and had the WR fumble it.
Derek Taylor 🇨🇦🏈 @DTonSC
Manziel 4/5 at the half. 4.8 air yds per attempt (CFL average in 2017 was 9.6). All horizontal routes. 1 inaccurate completion, 1 a hair off target. #Ticats
Manziel stayed in to start the second half, but a two-and-out that featured some questionable decision-making forced him back to the sidelines to regroup before heading out for his fifth and final series.
Mike Rodak @mikerodak
Johnny Manziel’s fourth possession went nowhere. He was pressured and dangerously lobbed ball on first down, completed pass for only 6 yards on second down, and Hamilton had an illegal punt out of bounds on third down.
Manziel bounced back on the Ticats’ ensuing possession and ripped a 21-yard completion to Damarr Aultman after rolling to his right:
Vintage Manziel on this play. #CFLGameDay https://t.co/wjt1kvSNbv
Matthew Scianitti @TSNScianitti
Some #Argos players are sharing their sideline “scouting report” of Manziel with me. The clean version: “Keep (Manziel) in the pocket, and he’ll have problems… if he gets out of the pocket he can do things” #CFL
Head coach June Jones has made it clear Manziel won’t start Week 1, but if he can continue to get comfortable in Hamilton’s quick-strike offense and settle into a more comfortable rhythm as a pocket passer, it stands to reason he could contend for snaps later in the season.
Lorenzo Reyes @LorenzoGReyes
Johnny Manziel’s night is done. Pretty solid showing for first game in 2.5 years. Finished 9-12 for 80 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 carries for 10 yards, took 2 sacks. Flashed athleticism, ability to extend play and keep eyes down field, decent arm strength.
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