The return of Johnny Football is near, and fans from Cleveland to College Station can tell the former Heisman Trophy winner where to go.
Johnny Manziel has signed on as part of the Fan Controlled Football league, a six-game pro league with hourlong games targeted at younger audiences who’ll essentially call the shots. Play is set to begin in February with four teams, and he’ll play for the Zappers.
Fans of the 7-on-7 league will get input on play-calling in a mix of reality and virtual game play.
“We could not be more excited to have Johnny Manziel join the FCF,” said Sohrob Farudi, league co-founder and CEO. “To have one of the most talented and exciting players in the history of college football is a historic moment for the FCF, and for our fans who will have the opportunity to call the plays for Manziel.”
Manziel told ESPN the concept of the league appealed to him.
“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 told 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.”
The 28-year-old Manziel last played football in 2019 as part of the Alliance of American Football. A first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M in 2012. The Browns released him in 2015, and he played briefly in the Canadian Football League.
In 2018, Manziel said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. He now resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., and he told ESPN he’s living “a normal life” of golf and backyard football.
Team owners include Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and Austin Ekeler.
“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 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.”
–Field Level Media