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CFL commissioner left impressed after meeting with Johnny Manziel

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie on Wednesday said he was left impressed with Johnny Manziel after meeting with the quarterback in September, perhaps leaving open the possibility of Manziel heading north to continue his pro football career at some point.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reports, however, that the CFL is awaiting results of a “multi-faceted expert analysis” before making any final determination on Manziel’s potential future with the league. As it stands, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats retain Manziel’s exclusive rights should any decision ultimately be made.

“He represented himself incredibly well [in the meeting],” Ambrosie said during a visit to ESPN headquarters. “He was thoughtful. I found him to be authentic and sincere. I also felt like he seems to have come to a good place in his life. He was talking a lot about his family. Now, I should say that’s part of the problem. My bias is towards family. So when I’m with somebody in there talking about my family, immediately I feel good about the conversation.”

“That’s exactly why we feel for any player who has had some trouble in their past, it’s important to not let the lay people be the only part of the decision-making process. That’s why we’ve implemented a process where we’ll lean very heavily on experts who have training and skill that will allow them to really understand where somebody is in their personal journey and be able to give me wise counsel.”

The Tiger-Cats worked out Manziel in August, opting to not sign him to a contract, reportedly citing “too many red flags” as their reason to pass on the unemployed, 24-year-old signal-caller. A subsequent report indicated negotiations were ongoing between Manziel and the Tiger-Cats.

“If we reach a point where we make an announcement that someone can play,” Ambrosie said, “we want to be able to look to the community and say to them that we’ve done our work, that we have not skipped a step.”

Manziel has not played since being cut by the Cleveland Browns in 2014. Whether or not Manziel catches on with the CFL remains to be seen.