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Geoff Calkins

Geoff Calkins has been chronicling Memphis and Memphis sports for more than two decades. He is host of "The Geoff Calkins Show" from 9-11 a.m. M-F on 92.9 FM. Calkins has been named the best sports columnist in the country five times by the Associated Press sports editors, but still figures his best columns are about the people who make Memphis what it is.

Calkins: Johnny Manziel joins the Memphis Express. What could possibly go wrong?

By Updated: March 17, 2019 12:05 PM CT | Published: March 16, 2019 11:31 PM CT
<strong>Johnny Manziel throws during drills at his alma mater during Texas A&amp;M's football Pro Day in College Station, Texas, on March 27, 2018.<span>&nbsp;</span></strong><span><strong>Manziel has signed an agreement to join the Alliance of American Football and may have been claimed and assigned to the Memphis Express,&nbsp;according to several reports. </strong>(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)</span>

Johnny Manziel throws during drills at his alma mater during Texas A&M's football Pro Day in College Station, Texas, on March 27, 2018. Manziel has signed an agreement to join the Alliance of American Football and may have been claimed and assigned to the Memphis Express, according to several reports. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Johnny Manziel is reporting to the Memphis Express. On St. Patrick’s Day! 

What could possibly go wrong?

“I’m all in on this team,” said Manziel.

No, wait. He said that about the Montreal Alouettes, before getting banned from the CFL.

“It's about action,” said Manziel. “It’s about being accountable and doing what I'm (going to) say instead of looking like a jackass.”

No, wait. He said that before he was released by the Cleveland Browns. 

“I want to wreck this league,” said Manziel.

No, wait, he said that in a text message during the 2014 NFL draft.

But here’s the good part. Manziel can’t possibly wreck the Express. There is nothing to wreck. The team is 1-5. Nobody in Memphis gives a flip about the team.

Can Johnny Football become Johnny Savior?

Don’t be silly.

But he can become Johnny Maybe I’ll Go Buy A Ticket And Watch The Circus.

That sure beats the alternative.


JONAH JORDAN: Quarterback Johnny Manziel assigned to Memphis Express


The Alliance of American Football announced Saturday that Manziel would be coming to Memphis after the San Antonio Commanders (God bless them) relinquished his rights.

“We believe he’ll benefit from the coaching and mentorship of Mike Singletary,” said league founder Bill Polian, in a statement, possibly because a statement did not require him to try and keep a straight face.

Johnny Manziel and Mike Singletary? What could possibly go wrong?

And, yes, some of you may be wondering if it’s unseemly to be celebrating the arrival of a quarterback who has done some of the things that Manziel is alleged to have done.

I say let he who has not been suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, who has not been let go by multiple agents including Drew Rosenhaus, who has not been accused of doing $90,000 in damage to a rented Mercedes, who has not been sued for doing $40,000 of damage to a rented Los Angeles mansion, who has not been dropped by his sponsors including Nike and Panini, who has not been accused of domestic abuse by former girlfriend Colleen Crowley, who has not been released by the Browns for showing up drunk at practice and for sneaking out to Las Vegas to party while wearing a wig, I say let he who has not done all that cast the first stone.

OK, so maybe it is a little unseemly.  But do you have any idea how hopelessly dull and irrelevant the Express have been up to this point?

They lost again Saturday, 22-9 to the Salt Lake Stallions, who came into the game at 1-4. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger injured his ankle on the first snap. Which opened the door for — I can’t believe I am even typing this — the Johnny Manziel era in Memphis.

Manziel last played for the Alouttes, where he started eight games and completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,290 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. In his last game with Montreal, he was was yanked at halftime for someone named Antonio Pipkin. But the TV ratings were great!

Manziel told everyone he planned to be back in Montreal for the 2019 season. Until he was banned by the CFL for “violating conditions of his agreement with the league." The CFL did not reveal what conditions Manziel violated. But Canada’s loss is Memphis’s gain.

This is a city of reclamation projects, of second chances. OK, seventh chances, in this case, but let’s not be picky here. This is where Allen Iverson made his triumphant comeback before quitting a few weeks later. This is where Mike Tyson showed up with a tattoo on his face and knocked out Cliff Etienne. This is where Roy Jones Jr. got knocked out by Glen Johnson. This is where John Daly got a sponsor’s exemption to play in the FedEx St. Jude Classic last year — then promptly withdrew after the first round.

Give us your troubled, your washed up, your wildly-colorful athletes looking to make a last stand. Manziel is still only 26. America loves a good comeback story. And — all jokes aside — it would be a nice human story if Manziel could use his time in Memphis to relaunch an NFL career.

The guy won the Heisman Trophy. He was as electrifying a college player as we have seen in a long time. Manziel’s struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder don’t excuse his behavior over the years, but there is no reason not to pull for him to find some degree of success and peace.

So welcome to Memphis, Johnny. Just stay away from Beale Street, OK? I mean, at Silky O’Sullivan's, they have actual live goats.

What could possibly go wrong?

Topics

Johnny Manziel Geoff Calkins Memphis Express Alliance Of American Football

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