THE COMEBACK?

Johnny Manziel has a great opportunity to rebuild his image in the Canadian Football League - if he takes it seriously

Johnny Manziel's time in a Browns uniform did not go well. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It might not be the opportunity he wanted. But for Johnny Manziel, it is the chance he needs.

The former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner is going to attempt to reboot his career North of the border. Manziel signed a two-year deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

While his new coach says he will have to beat out Jeremiah Masoli, odds are June Jones wants Manziel to start at some point, preferably sooner rather than later.

Manziel’s deal is for two years, and it really is the perfect opportunity. If he goes to Canada and dominates, he would only be 27 at the end of his contract and might spark NFL interest. If he fails? The NFL has not been an option recently and would not be in 2020. It’s also possible he just plays at a quality level and decides to stick around and make a nice career for himself in Canada.

Manziel certainly has the talent and skill set to be successful in the CFL. The league has a wider and longer field, three downs and receivers get a running start, which puts a premium on a quick passing game and mobility for a quarterback. His lack of height will not be the hindrance it was in the NFL, because the passing lanes are more open. It is a fun, exciting brand of football, and a Manziel playing at his best would be fun to watch.

But what will make Manziel succeed or fail will be the problem he has had since he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014: a willingness to put in the work to learn his craft. Manziel always had it easy at Texas A&M. He was able to get by on talent alone. But many players making the jump to the NFL find out that’s not enough at the next level. Some adjust and improve. Others fall by the wayside. That was Manziel.

If Manziel thinks he can just show up and be Johnny Football, he will fail. The CFL has a lot of talented players, many with NFL experience. It is a different game, and learning it is not a given. Throw in all the off-field escapades, and he has a big hill to climb.

He is saying all the right things, but he did that before the NFL Draft, too, and we know how that turned out.

At his best, Manziel was one of the most dynamic college football players of the last 10 years. At his worst, he was a TMZ magnet and an ineffective quarterback. It would be great for all parties if he could succeed. It would raise interest in the CFL in the States, especially among Aggies. Manziel would also find that Canadians embrace their stars, and success there would help rebuild his image. If he truly embraces it all and puts in the effort, he could make himself relevant as a football player again.

Manziel is getting another chance, even if it is not the one he wanted. Here is hoping he makes the most of it.

 

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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