“Hey! It’s june. Time to play a little football.”
“Yeah, it’s Canada.”
The Canadian Football League begins its regular season Thursday night in Winnipeg when Edmonton’s Eskimos face the hometown Blue Bombers (good names, eh?).
What we do know is temperatures that evening will resemble not a whit this weekend’s forecasts.
Ah, this weekend.
On Saturday night Calgary’s Stampeders are hosting Hamilton’s Tiger-Cats, the new professional home of wayward American quarterback Johnny Manziel, winner of the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2012.
Known as Johnny Football when he was a college star, Manziel’s life and career hit the skids after he left school.
Suffering alcohol and substance abuse problems as well as from a self-professed bipolar disorder, Manziel managed to play his way out of the U.S. National Football League in two frought-filled years, to the point that he was out of football in 2017.
He’s in Canada now and says he’s clean.
The real Johnny, he says, is back.
Trouble is, he’s said that before, then slipped badly.
Manziel is the brightest star from the U.S. football firmament to come to Canada since another Heisman winner, Doug Flutie, arrived in British Columbia in 1990.
Most observers will tell you Flutie went went on to establish himself as the greatest player to ever play in Canada.
Manziel has a tougher road.
He starts the 2018 season carrying a clipboard on the Hamilton sidelines, playing second fiddle to last year’s starter, Jeremiah Masoli.
What happens now is anyone’s guess.
It could very will turn into a very bumpy ride.
Dowbiggin spoke by phone from his Calgary home.Listen