The Canadian Football League denied Johnny Manziel's comeback bid to play in 2017 but said the former NFL quarterback can revisit his eligibility for next season.
Manziel would be eligible in 2018 if he "meets certain conditions that have been spelled out" by commissioner Randy Ambrosie, the CFL announced Wednesday.
"After an extensive process of due diligence and an in-person meeting with Mr. Manziel, the Commissioner has decided that he will not register any contract for Mr. Manziel for this season," the CFL said in a statement. "However, Mr. Manziel will be eligible to sign a contract for the 2018 season and, if Mr. Manziel meets certain conditions that have been spelled out by the Commissioner, the CFL will register that contract. The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed. The CFL has extended the stay on the expiry of the 10-day window for Mr. Manziel until Nov. 30, 2017 and therefore Mr. Manziel will remain on Hamilton's negotiation list until that date."
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats made it known earlier in the year that the former Texas A&M star was indeed on their 45-man negotiation list and as recently as last month included him as part of a workout held in Buffalo, N.Y.
Manziel, 24, has not played since the Cleveland Browns released him in March 2016.
"I recently had a really positive meeting with Commissioner Ambrosie and welcomed the chance for us to get to know each other and have an in-depth talk about a possible future with the CFL," Manziel said in a statement.
"I love this game and want to be back on the field in a situation where I can help a franchise in the long term. Over the past months, my agent helped me vet all of my options for playing, figuring out where I could be most effective and get back to having the most fun with the game I love. I'm ready to play today, but we all agreed with the Commissioner that it made no sense for me to join a team with only a month left in the season -- it wouldn't have been fair to my teammates, coaches or the fan base.
"I want to come into a team and earn my job day one, like everyone else. I look forward to preparing myself as best I can and look forward to what the future holds."
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats worked out Manziel for team officials in August but decided not to sign him at the time. Manziel then activated a 10-day window to force the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to either sign him, release his rights or trade them to another CFL team
"Johnny did some good things," Tiger-Cats vice president of football operations Kent Austin said when asked about the workout. "On the field, he looked fine. It was a short workout but he's obviously a talented kid."
Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy 2012 as a redshirt freshman at Texas A&M, had a number of off-field incidents that affected his public image. He also failed to play effectively in limited opportunities with the Browns after being a first-round draft choice (22nd overall).
Manziel, nicknamed "Johnny Football," completed 147 of 258 passes for 1,675 yards and seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 games, including eight starts, for the Browns in 2014 and 2015.