The Alouettes said Manziel was released “on the direction of the Canadian Football League” after it uncovered evidence that he had “contravened” his contract. Neither the team nor the league provided further details on how Manziel allegedly violated the terms of his deal.
In addition to his release, the CFL said it will not approve any future contract between Manziel and one of its teams, effectively barring him from the league.
“We are disappointed by this turn of events. Johnny was provided a great deal of support by our organization, in collaboration with the CFL, but he has been unable to abide by the terms of his agreement,” Alouettes General Manager Kavis Reed in a statement. “We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.”
A Manziel representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the CFL’s decision. Manziel addressed his release in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“I want to thank Coach Sherman, my teammates, and the CFL fans. My time there reestablished my love for the game of football and the work that goes into it. I look forward to exploring new options within the United States,” he wrote.
It’s unclear if Manziel will attempt to play in the Alliance of American Football, a new U.S.-based pro football league playing its inaugural season, or in the XFL when it re-launches in spring 2020. A source familiar with the matter does not believe the contract violations were related to an attempt by Manziel to play in a U.S. league, ESPN reported.
A former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, Manziel has not played in the league since 2015 amid a slew of off-field incidents, including a 2016 domestic assault charge. Manziel appeared in eight games for the Alouettes last season.