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 gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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