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Johnny Manziel barred from signing CFL contract this year, will be eligible in 2018

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- The Canadian Football League has rejected Johnny Manziel's bid to play football this season, but left open the chance that Manziel could join the league next year.

According to a statement, Manziel would be eligible in 2018, provided he "meets certain conditions" chosen by the league's commissioner, Randy Ambrosie. The CFL says the decision follows an "extensive process of due diligence."

The 24-year-old quarterback has not played since being released by the Cleveland Browns in 2016. The CFL is currently in Week 15 of a 20-week regular season.  

"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 Wednesday.

"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."

He acknowledged, however, that while he is ready to play immediately, "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."

Manziel's rights are currently owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They will retain those rights until November 30, per Ambrosie's decision. That date is four days after the league's championship game.

Manziel would be required to make a two-year commitment if he signs with any other CFL team, meaning he couldn't return to the NFL until 2020.

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