Johnny Manziel's agent Erik Burkhardt has released the following statement when it comes to his client playing in the CFL.
"Despite much speculation and several comments from the Hamilton
Tiger-Cats and CFL, Johnny and I have remained silent and continued to
focus on his training and preparation. Due to the tremendous support,
Johnny wants to let Hamilton fans know where things stand and that he
has been working hard in preparation for his comeback.
As context, the CFL maintains an archaic and restrictive rule, whereby
their teams can claim an amateur players' rights, and essentially hold
those rights into perpetuity, without any consideration or
compensation for the player. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL
claimed Johnny's rights when he was a freshman at Texas A&M, and have
continued to hold them for over 6 years.
Johnny and I have done our due diligence on the League and team, which
has included visiting Hamilton, meeting with CEO Scott Mitchell, as
well as multiple meetings and working out for Coach June Jones. All of
these interactions have been very positive and served to reinforce
Johnny’s excitement for coming out to play for the Tiger Cats. Johnny
was pleased to have the opportunity to talk ball with Coach Jones, who
has publicly shared his belief that Johnny would be a good fit for the
team he’s trying to field.
As Hamilton has announced, and per the aforementioned restrictive rule
requirements, they sent us a place-holder contract in order to
maintain Johnny's rights and allow us adequate time to negotiate a
deal. During our diligence process and at my request, Hamilton also
graciously gave me permission to discuss potential trade options with
at least one other club. Johnny and I met with those executives in
Texas to discuss their organization and thoughts on Johnny's market
and value around the CFL. However, due to Johnny's strong relationship
with Coach Jones and Hamilton executive Kent Austin, we've made the
decision to deal exclusively with Hamilton and give them until January
31st to work out a fair deal to make him their Quarterback. So that
there will not be any ambiguity in regards to financial expectations,
and so the public understands how seriously Johnny is considering this
move, I will tell you that we believe 'fair deal' means on par with
what Hamilton has paid their QB in recent years, despite not having
much on-field success. If we cannot reach a deal with Hamilton by this
date, we will turn our focus to several other professional options
readily available to us."