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MONTREAL (AP) — Johnny Manziel’s time in the Canadian Football League is over.The CFL terminated the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner’s contract with the Montreal Alouettes on Wednesday. The league also informed the eight other teams that it wouldn’t register a contract for Manziel if any tried to sign him.“We advised Montreal that Johnny had violated one of the conditions we had set for him to be in our league. And Montreal announced his release today ,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in Vancouver. “We didn’t release the terms of those conditions then and we’re not going to do that now.“We’re trying to do what we believe is in the best interests of the entire league. The conditions we set, we thought were the right ones. Those conditions have been violated and we feel it’s best, and Montreal feels its best, to let Johnny move on. And we think it’s best for our league that he do the same. And we wish him well.”A post on Manziel’s Twitter account indicated he was already looking for other opportunities.“I want to thank (Alouettes coach Mike Sherman), my teammates and the CFL fans,” Manziel tweeted . “My time there re-established my love for the game of football and the work that goes into it. I look forward to exploring new options within the United States.”One option for the former Texas A&M star and onetime Cleveland Brown could be the Alliance of American Football, which kicked off its inaugural season earlier this month. Manziel said he was intrigued by the prospect of playing in either that or Xtreme Football League, which begins operation next year.“It’s great for football, it’s great for the guys who need more opportunity, need more film and time to play ,” Manziel said on Barstool Sports Comeback SZN podcast. “I don’t know exactly what my exact steps will be for the next years coming up, but at least there’s a lot of options.“Me and E.B. (agent Erik Burkhardt) are fully committed to playing ball and trying to get into the best situation possible and that’s what it’s all about.”In December 2017, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced the league would approve a contract for the former Cleveland Browns first-round pick, who at the time was on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats negotiation list. But Manziel had to fulfill certain requirements to join the league.The league’s due diligence included an assessment by an independent expert on domestic violence and a face-to-face meeting between Manziel and Ambrosie.Exactly what conditions or requirements that were broken or violated weren’t divulged. Manziel had sought treatment for anger management and alcohol abuse as part of his acquittal on a 2016 charge of domestic violence.Manziel eventually ended up signing with Hamilton in May 2018 but was unable to get on to the field behind starter Jeremiah Masoli. The Tiger-Cats dealt Manziel and offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice in a trade with Montreal on July 23 for receiver Chris Williams, defensive end Jamaal Westerman and two first-round draft picks (2020, ’21).The move reunited Manziel with Sherman, who recruited him to Texas A&M. Acquired to be Montreal’s No. 1 quarterback, the 26-year-old nicknamed Johnny Football went 2-6 as a starter, completing 106 of 165 passes (64.2 percent) for 1,290 yards with five TDs and seven interceptions.He also ran for 215 yards on 29 carries as Montreal (5-13) finished third in the East Division but missed the CFL playoffs.“We are disappointed by this turn of events ,” Alouettes GM Kavis Reed said in a statement. “Johnny was provided a great deal of support by our organization, in collaboration with the CFL, but he has been unable to abide by the terms of his agreement.“We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.”Manziel was taken in the first round, No. 22 overall, in the 2014 NFL draft by Cleveland. But following two tumultuous seasons, the Browns released the Tyler, Texas, native in March 2016 after he posted a 2-6 record as their starter.Manziel appeared in just 14 games with Cleveland, completing 147 of 258 attempts (57.0 percent) for 1 ,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 259 yards and a touchdown.FOX Fantasy AutoForm a Racing Team, Compete for PrizesPlay Now! NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton bristled on Monday when pressed about whether he intended to protect certain starters from potential injury by sitting them out of New Orleans’ anti-climactic regular season finale.“We’re going to prepare to play Carolina and continue to work on getting better in the areas we need to,” Payton asserted. “I can’t be any more clear; we’ll approach it just like we would any regular season game.”But this isn’t any regular season game. It holds no playoff implications for the Saints (13-2), who wrapped up the top overall seed in the NFC with a 31-28 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday.Sure, a victory would give the Saints the first 14-win regular season in the history of a franchise that was founded in 1967.But that may not be worth the risk of exposing a central player such as quarterback Drew Brees — who turns 40 next month — to a full-force hit that might affect his health in the all-important postseason.And Carolina defenders — eager to improve their own career prospects by putting more great hits on video — will surely be taking aim at top offensive producers like receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara.And there are probably benefits to getting more snaps for reserves this week in the event they are pressed into service in the playoffs.“We’re going to treat this like a regular work week,” starting safety Vonn Bell said, sidestepping a question about the merits of resting key players this week. “We’re going to do what the coaches tell us.”The rest vs. rust dilemma is one that coaches are generally thankful to encounter.The last time the Saints were a No. 1 seed was in 2009, when Payton sat Brees for the regular season finale in Carolina. New Orleans lost that game before becoming the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after ending the regular season on a three-game skid.But Payton downplayed his past decision-making on that front.“I don’t have a general philosophy,” Payton said. “Each team’s different.”Saints players who are banged up could now have two weekends off if they don’t play against Carolina. New Orleans gets a bye after that before opening their playoff run at home in the divisional round against an opponent yet to be determined.Recent results suggest the Saints could use the rest.After a string of dominant victories during the heart of the season, New Orleans’ past four games have included one close loss and three straight fourth-quarter comebacks.Whether the tighter games were indicative of the Saints coming back to the pack is a matter for debate. Payton and the Saints sound generally gratified by the way they’ve handled their recent string of late-game stress.“The thing I’m encouraged about — each of those times we’re challenged , we found a way to come up on the right end for the most part,” Payton said, noting that in the NFL, close games are “more the norm” than the multi-touchdown victories the Saints enjoyed against the New York Giants, Washington, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and in their home date with Atlanta.“We’re a resilient team,” Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk said. “Not every NFL game is a blowout. Even if you have a dominant offense, it doesn’t happen a lot. We know that’s not a common occurrence and later in the year we got to battle through some games and I think that shows you what kind of team we have.”Ramczyk looked to be among the players who could use a break when he briefly left the game against Pittsburgh with an ankle injury. But he returned to play through it and said he felt relatively good on Monday. It remains to be seen how left tackle Terron Armstead fares. His action against Pittsburgh was his first since his chest injury on Nov. 11 at Cincinnati. He did not make it through the whole game and the Saints have not provided updates on his condition.Beyond that, the Saints appear relatively healthy , particularly after receiver Ted Ginn Jr.’s impactful return (five catches, 74 yards) against Pittsburgh from a knee injury that kept him on injured reserve more than half the season.“He played well,” Payton said. “It was good to have him back out there.”If Payton wants Ginn back out there again in the postseason, he could always limit his snap count against the Panthers.As far as the most successful coach in Saints history is concerned, such decisions will become evident in due time.

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