With the Alliance of American Football seemingly about to shut its doors, one of the biggest stories of its lone season has quickly come to an end. When the AAF announced that it would be suspending operations earlier this week, it left the league's players scrambling to figure out what their next steps would be. One of those players is Memphis Express quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Express signed the former Texas A&M, NFL, and CFL signal-caller roughly two weeks ago in the hopes of upgrading the quarterback position.
His addition to the team was met with mixed reaction, not surprising considering Manziel's past. But the 26-year-old did get some playing time before the league halted its season.
He saw a series in the Express' victory over the Birmingham Iron in Week 7 and took the field for a few plays in last week's loss to Orlando before leaving the game with an injury. When all was said and done Manziel ran 13 total plays and wound up with 61 passing yards (with an interception), and 38 rushing yards (averaged 7.6 yards per carry).
Once the league announced it was suspending operations Manziel offered some advice to the league's players via social media. But considering that Manziel was arguably the biggest name to suit up for the AAF this year, many are wondering what his future plans will be. Here are three potential options for Manziel should he decide to continue his playing career.
1. Playing in the XFL
In all reality, many AAF players will likely be looking to join the relaunched edition of Vince McMahon's league. But if McMahon is looking for a major name to assist with the promoting and marketing of its planned 2020 kickoff, then Manziel is an option. In the same token, it wouldn't surprise me if the XFL isn't already reaching out to AAF talent about opportunities for next year. As it stands right now, the XFL is the best bet for Manziel and others, although a few players may get a chance to try and latch on with an NFL team through an invite to training camp.
2. The Arena Football League
While the AFL can't offer much in financial incentives these days, and while they're only fielding six teams for the upcoming season, the AFL is still a good place to get reps and keep your skills sharp. Many former NFL players have given the AFL a try through the years in order to find their way back into the league. Manziel should give this option some consideration.
3. Make amends with either the NFL or CFL
This is obviously a lot easier said than done. Manziel's well-documented off-field and legal issues played the biggest role in his release from the Cleveland Browns in 2016. And concerns about whether or not those issues were truly behind him played a part in his departure from the Montreal Alouettes earlier this year. While you can never say never in the world of sports, being able to convince either league that he's sober, staying out of trouble, wants to resume his career, and deserves a second chance isn't as easy as it may sound. But if Manziel wants back in either league, that's exactly what he'll have to do.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo courtesy of AAF.com)