When Vince McMahon relaunched the XFL he made one thing clear: Players who have "any sort of criminal record or commit a crime" wouldn't play for his league. That was a blow to troubled former Cleveland QB Johnny Manziel.
Manziel is coming back anyway, and he apparently doesn't need McMahon's help to do it.
TMZ reports that Manziel will once again play serious football, quarterbacking in the Texas-based Spring League. When the league's season begins in Austin on March 28, "Johnny Football" will be back in action.
The Spring League isn't some semi-pro sadness fantasy camp. According to TMZ, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Greg Hardy are just two major players who have signed with the league in the past—and NFL scouts reportedly have attended games to look for NFL prospects.
In a statement quoted by TMZ, 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," the statement read. Manziel then thanked Spring League staff members "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."
Manziel won't get a free ride as far as his behavior is concerned. He's reportedly playing under two conditions: He'll have to check in each night with his team by 9:30 and he must pass a drug test the day he begins.
In their own statement to TMZ, the League said their "platform is the ideal forum for Mr. Manziel to enact his NFL comeback."
In a recent interview with ABC, Manziel was pretty honest about his shortcomings in the past. "I had a sense of entitlement about what I had accomplished at the age," he said. Later he admitted, "When I look back at it now, even when I thought I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable."
At the moment that seems like it would be some kind of minor miracle for Manziel to play with the NFL again.
But if he's really as contrite as he seems, seems like he might deserve a second chance.