CFL extends window to mull Johnny Manziel possibility

The CFL is weighing whether to allow quarterback Johnny Manziel to play in the league this season, according to a statement that confirmed Manziel's interest in resuming his pro career.

Manziel's CFL rights are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who placed him on their negotiation list -- the league's process of intaking international players -- several years ago. According to league policy, any player on the list can trigger a 10-day window in which the team must either offer a contract or renounce his rights.

Manziel's agent recently notified Hamilton of his intent to start the 10-day clock, but the CFL said Friday it had extended the window so the league itself could "facilitate a process of evaluation for the player."

No timetable for the unusual extension was provided.

The CFL's statement was first reported by TSN.

Manziel, 24, hasn't played since the Cleveland Browns released him in March 2016 after two disastrous seasons marked by off-field struggles and a trip to a rehab facility. The NFL suspended him for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating its substance abuse policy. In December 2016, he received a conditional dismissal of a misdemeanor charge after being accused of hitting and threatening his then-girlfriend.

Manziel said in January that he was sober and was hoping to return to the NFL. He met in January with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, but no team expressed serious interest in signing him.

The Tiger-Cats, spurred by new coach June Jones, worked him out in August but decided not to make an offer at the time.

Hamilton could trade Manziel's rights, but any team acquiring his rights would still have to await the conclusion of the CFL's evaluation process. If the Tiger-Cats make an offer that he turns down, Manziel must spend another year on their negotiation list before his rights are renounced.

According to the policy, any CFL team could add Manziel to their negotiation list if Hamilton renounces his rights.