HAMILTON, Ontario -- Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel made his preseason debut Friday night in the Canadian Football League, completing 9 of 11 passes for 80 yards in five offensive possessions that did not result in any points for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Manziel was on the field for 23 plays after replacing starter Jeremiah Masoli, who played the first seven drives of the game. Masoli -- who coach June Jones confirmed this week will "absolutely" be the opening-day starter -- completed 8 of 13 passes for 115 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Tiger-Cats ultimately lost to the Toronto Argonauts 36-18.
Friday's game marked the third time Manziel has played organized football since 2015, which was his second and final season with the Cleveland Browns. He also participated in two games for The Spring League in April before deciding to make a two-year commitment to the CFL and sign with the Tiger-Cats.
Manziel's return to football seemed to be the subject of what he called some "foul" words from an Argonauts player that generated a passionate response from the former first-round NFL draft pick after the game.
"Listen, I'm not here to be pushed over," he said. "You can come at me 'cause my name's in the papers, because my name's on TV. You can come at me [but] I'm not backing down. I'm here for a reason. I'm here to play ball. I'm not gonna be treated like s---."
Manziel was most effective Friday when throwing from outside the pocket, including a 21-yard gain in the third quarter when he was scrambling to his right. He also completed an 11-yard pass in the second quarter when scrambling to his left.
Manziel's fifth and final possession showed promise, as he advanced the Tiger-Cats' offense from its own 29-yard line to the Toronto 12. He threw away his ensuing first-down pass out of bounds and was called for intentional grounding because the ball failed to reach the line of scrimmage, resulting in second-and-32.
"Worst call of the century," Manziel said. "I mean, my whole life I've been taught to throw it right at the stick that's marking the down. I thought I got it there; he told me I was about a yard short. That's the first time I've heard that."
Two of Manziel's possessions ended on third-down sacks, the equivalent of a fourth-down sack in the NFL. Another possession ended when his receiver caught a pass but fumbled.
Manziel also noted he is still adjusting to rule differences in the CFL, including a 20-second play clock.
"It's a lot quicker game," he said.
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