Johnny Manziel to make first CFL start Friday against Tiger-Cats
Manziel will make his first start in the league Friday night after sitting on the bench as a backup for six games, Montreal Alouettes coach Mike Sherman told Canadian reporters Tuesday.
Manziel will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who traded the quarterback on July 22 for a package that included two first-round draft choices. He didn't play in the Alouettes' game last Thursday, their first game after the trade.
"It's good to be back in here," Manziel said. "I felt like the thing I've been missing, even over the course of this year and a couple years, is reps. And as you guys have seen the last couple days, a chance to get with the 1s and get some reps is what I feel like I really need and what I've talked to a lot of people about.
"So I feel very blessed to be in this position, to be back in a situation where I'm starting again. It's good. It's a quick turnaround. But at the same time, I'm excited for the opportunity."
Manziel said he didn't know until a few moments before Tuesday's news conference that he would get the start.
He played in two preseason games for the Tiger-Cats, as well as parts of two games for the Spring League in April. But Friday night's game will be his most substantial football outing since the Cleveland Browns released him following the 2015 season.
Asked how he feels in the Alouettes' offense so far, Manziel said that he's "getting there."
"I think there's some good things; there's some good flashes," he said. "Football's a game of inches and little things and little mishaps that can make a play go awry. So we're just trying to clean up the little detail things that I think we're missing here that we'll get on top of and hopefully be able to go out and perform. But I'm still learning it as we go, and I feel fortunate enough to be going against a defense that I've seen more than any other defense since I've been in the CFL."
Manziel also addressed the attention that his trade to Montreal, not to mention his tumultuous past few years, have drawn. He acknowledged that he can see how the attention "can be a little bit of a distraction" to his new team.
"It can cause a little bit of chaos," Manziel said. "But if you get a chance to really know me and know what I'm about, I don't feel like there's a lot of that anymore. And I appreciate the support that I do get, being in a completely new, different place. The support and everything that I've gotten and the messages and the amount of people that have been encouraging throughout my journey of life to get back to this point today has been -- it's been really nice."
The Alouettes were listed Tuesday afternoon as 6.5-point underdogs for Friday's game by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.