Johnny Manziel The Rock Can Save the XFL ... 'But I'm Retired, Dude'

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ONTO THE NEXT CHAPTER
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Johnny Manziel LOVES the fact The Rock just bought the XFL -- but don't expect to see the QB sign a contract anytime soon.

"I'm retired, dude," Manziel told TMZ Sports outside of Saddle Ranch in L.A. on Friday.

Manziel's only 27 years old -- and brought solid TV ratings to the CFL during his 2018/2019 comeback ... begging the question, would The Rock's XFL make a run at Johnny to try and boost interest?

"Listen, anything The Rock touches is gonna be gold as always," Manziel says ... "But, I think football is a little bit behind me."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

"I'm just trying do to other things in life that make me happy. That's it."

To prove his point, Manziel fired up a cigarette -- and told us straight up, "There's more to life than just ball."

The former Heisman Trophy winner and 2015 1st-round NFL Draft pick is not completely closing the door on a comeback ... saying he still trains and works out -- but it's highly unlikely.

"You never say never, I'm still an athletic guy ... but at the end of the day, let's see where the rest of life takes me and we’ll go from there."

"Football for me is not at the forefront of my mind. It's just chillin’ and being one of the bros."

Manziel also talked about his beef with sports business reporter Darren Rovell ... and explained why it's a long-running issue "that'll get settled up one day."

Oh, and as for why Manziel is out in L.A. during a global pandemic without a mask?

"COVID doesn’t wanna see me at the end of the day," Manziel joked ... "dude, I do worse things on the weekend."

Fair point.

The Rock XFL Deal Has Closed ... I've Got the Keys Now

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It's The People's XFL now!

Dwayne Johnson -- AKA The Rock -- says the deal to buy the XFL is officially DONE ... and he can't wait to get to work.

As we previously reported, Rock and his partners -- Dany Garcia (Rock's business partner and ex-wife) and RedBird Capital (led by Gerry Cardinale) -- made a $15 million deal to take over Vince McMahon's beloved pro football league after it filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

The deal was approved in bankruptcy court earlier this month -- and Rock says all of the I's have finally been dotted and the T's have been crossed.

"The deal is official closed and 'the keys' to the XFL have been handed over," Rock says.

"I humbly accept and promise to put my callouses to hard work building our new brand. Congrats to my partners @DanyGarciaCo & #GerryCardinale and our sharp, hungry team."

Rock included a graphic of the "key" -- which says the word "Mana" ... a Polynesian word for spiritual power.

No word on Rock's timeline to bring back the league -- but his good friend, Dana White, advised the WWE legend to get moving ASAP because there's a hungry market for live sports.

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White even offered to council the XFL on how to properly navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, as he has done himself with the UFC.

Congrats!

Ex-XFL HC Winston Moss Pitches The Rock ... I Wanna Coach In The XFL!!

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The Rock owns the XFL and former L.A. Wildcats head coach Winston Moss has a message for DJ ... GIVE ME A JOB!!!

Moss lost his head coaching gig when the 2nd iteration of the XFL went under -- largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- leaving the former NFL player and coach without a job.

Winston -- who played football at University of Miami a few years before Johnson -- thought his time with the XFL was done ... until The Rock swooped in, threw down $15 mil, and rescued the league.

COULDN'T BE MORE EXCITED
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Now, Moss tells TMZ Sports he BADLY wants another crack coaching in the XFL.

"I was excited to hear the news. I've been on pins and needles ever since we were shut down due to COVID-19 and how can you not be excited about The Rock?!" Moss tells us.

"He's an ex-football player, he's a great entertainer, has a passion for whatever he does, has a passion for football, he seems to love the game. Both of us are University of Miami alumni, so c'mon!"

Moss says working with Johnson would be a huge privilege.

"I think he brings so much to the table that I would be honored, I would be thrilled to work with somebody with that stature."

Now, this obviously ain't the XFL's 1st rodeo ... so Moss has some ideas that he believes will make Johnson's league a hit the 3rd time around.

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Dwayne, give this man a call!

Mick Foley Praises The Rock For Buying XFL With Ex-Wife ... 'Sets An Example'

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CAN'T STOP HIS HUSTLE
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Mick Foley is praising the hell out of The Rock for buying the XFL with his ex-wife ... telling TMZ Sports his business relationship with Dany Garcia is just another example of why the former WWE star is an awesome person.

"The greatest part of this announcement is that one of his partners in this venture is his former wife, Dany Garcia," Foley says.

"The Rock not only sets an example on how to conduct yourself as a human being, an actor, a philanthropist but as a former husband."

FYI -- The Rock married Garcia way back in 1997, but they divorced in 2007 while promising at the time to continue to stay in each other's lives as "best friends."

Mick says the way Dwayne has kept up that commitment with Garcia despite the separation is powerful ... and Foley claims it tells a lot about the 48-year-old movie star's character.

"Of all the stories I tell about The Rock, I think my favorite one is he was actually at his ex-wife's wedding," says Foley, who wrestled with Dwayne for years in the WWE.

"I think that's a great lesson for everyone to learn for the fact that they can stay amazing friends, be amazing parents to Simone, and then take on these business ventures."

As we previously reported, Rock teamed up with Garcia and partners at RedBird Capital (led by Gerry Cardinale) to scoop up the XFL for $15 million on Monday.

The Rock's promising to build a good product on the field for fans ... and Foley says there's no doubt in his mind his former coworker is going to crush it.

"It's got a really good shot to succeed because of the intensity and the effort that he and Dany and their partners put into it," Foley says.

By the way, Mick is already lobbying his old pal for a role in the league ... but he tells us he doesn't want a suit-and-tie front office job -- he wants to strap on a helmet!!

"That's what I'd like to do," Foley says.

MAKE IT HAPPEN, ROCK!!!

Johnny Manziel Jumps Off Roof For Pool Front Flip ... Insane Video!!!

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FEARLESS FLIP
@jmanziel2 / Instagram

Forget Johnny Football ... just call him Johnny Daredevil now!!!

Here's footage of former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel leaping off a rooftop and doing a front flip into a pool ... and it's INSANE!!!

Unclear where the debauchery went down ... but Manziel posted the video Sunday -- showing a slow-mo shot of him soaring roughly 20 feet through the air before splashing down.

It's pretty scary ... the pool ain't exactly huge, and he appears to be just feet away from the shallow end!!!

Of course, jumping off high things into water is becoming old hat for the recently retired football player ... it was just a few weeks ago when he posted vid of him throwing himself off a cliff.

CLOSE CALL

Don't worry, John's still alive and well ... and hey, the video is pretty cool.

BUT, BE CAREFUL, JOHNNY ... The Rock might need ya for the XFL soon!!!

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Buys XFL In $15 Mil Deal ... That's What I'm Cooking!!

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FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO ... PRO FOOTBALL!?

The WWE legend just teamed up with an investment group to snatch up Vince McMahon's XFL league for $15 million, the league confirms in a statement.

The league had filed for bankruptcy after being resurrected for the 2020 season -- and was supposed to be auctioned off to highest bidder on Monday.

But, Dwayne Johnson and his partners -- Dany Garcia (Rock's business partner and ex-wife) and partners at RedBird Capital (led by Gerry Cardinale) -- swooped in and bought it up this weekend before it hit the auction block.

The deal must now be approved in bankruptcy court on Friday -- and if everything goes smoothly, it could close by August 21.

The Rock (along with Dany) and RedBird are reportedly 50/50 partners in the deal.

Remember, the XFL got off to a pretty decent start in 2020 -- but COVID essentially served as a death sentence to the league, forcing it to shut down in March.

The league filed for chapter 11 in April -- listing $10 to $50 million in debts.

The Rock issued a statement saying, "The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things - my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans."

"With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football."

The plan is to relaunch the league -- but so far, no timetable has been set.

As for The Rock, he famously played college football at the University of Miami back in the day before becoming a global pro wrestling superstar with Vince McMahon's WWE.

He's gone on to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood -- and a storyline on his show "Ballers" had his character pursuing the purchase of an NFL franchise.

XFL QB Josh Johnson Gunning For NFL Comeback ... 'Hell Yeah!!!'

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GIMME A SHOT
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Josh Johnson ain't done yet -- the 34-year-old QB tells TMZ Sports he's eyeing a big return to the NFL after lighting it up in the XFL this past season.

Of course, JJ was one of the best players in Vince McMahon's org. earlier this year ... starting 4 games and posting a league-best 106.3 passer rating for the L.A. Wildcats.

We spoke with Johnson about his future plans ... and he's ready to get the call to make the leap back to the highest level -- as long as COVID-19 doesn't keep the season from happening.

"Hell yeah, if they gone play," Johnson tells us. "I mean, we trying to see what's going on with all that craziness surrounding COVID. But, I'm ready to go, bro."

"I've just been at home working, waiting for the opportunity."

"I enjoyed the hell outta the XFL experience. It also allowed me to get the platform to do what I could do, and the fact that people take notice, it was very good for me."

In the meantime, Johnson tells us he's focused on being the co-founder of the Ultimate Gaming League ... which is hosting a huge Madden tourney that will be streamed on Twitch this weekend ... with pros from Marcus Peters to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to Johnson himself participating ... and it's all for charity.

Johnson -- a journeyman in the NFL -- also tells us about why Madden played such a major role in his career so far ... check it out.

NOT JUST FUN & GAMES
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Vince McMahon Claims XFL Commish 'Abandoned' Job After COVID-19 Began

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Vince McMahon claims ex-XFL commissioner Oliver Luck "abandoned" his duties when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March ... and that's one of the main reasons Vince fired him, according to court documents.

Remember, Oliver Luck sued Vince McMahon back in April, claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his role as the commish and CEO of the XFL on April 9.

In his initial court docs, Luck redacted many of the details behind his allegations.

But now, Vince's attorney has filed his own court docs spelling out the reasons McMahon axed Luck. The details have now been made public.

First, McMahon claims Luck "effectively abandoned his responsibilities" on March 13 by shutting down the XFL offices in Connecticut ... and instead, working from home in Indiana.

McMahon claims Luck failed to "devote substantially all of his business time to his XFL duties as required by the contract."

Second, McMahon claims Luck approved signing ex-NFL receiver Antonio Callaway without first getting approval from Vince.

By the way, Callaway had previously been suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. McMahon claims he ordered Luck to cut Callaway immediately -- but Luck refused.

Luck's argument, according to court docs, is that Callaway didn't violate the XFL's personal conduct policy.

Third, McMahon claims Luck misused an XFL-issued iPhone -- using the phone for personal reasons when it was supposed to be exclusively used for work.

For his part, Luck claims McMahon's allegations are bogus and he's digging in his heels on the argument he was wrongfully terminated.

As for the COVID-19 allegation, Luck claims he simply couldn't return to Connecticut because the state had implemented a stay-at-home order on March 20, and he adhered by the mandate.

Luck claims he did everything he could to continue doing his job while sheltering-in-place.

Luck is demanding $23.8 million in salary and damages. He had signed a 5-year contract in 2018 with a $5 million annual salary and a $2 million bonus.

As we previously reported, the XFL closed its doors on April 10, laid off staff and filed for bankruptcy ... claiming the COVID-19 pandemic essentially killed the business.

Ex-Bills RB Karlos Williams Destroys Ex-Bills GM 'Doug Whaley Can Drink Bleach!!!'

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"Doug Whaley can eat a d**k. Doug Whaley can die in a hole and drink bleach. I’m dead serious."

Ex-NFL running back Karlos Williams is opening fire on ex-Bills GM Doug Whaley ... going OFF on the guy for how things went down during his time in Buffalo.

Remember, Williams had an INSANE breakout rookie season in 2015 -- scoring 7 TDs in just 11 games -- but never played another down in the league due to substance abuse suspensions.

Now, the 26-year-old is looking to make a comeback via the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts ... explaining he REFUSED to play in the XFL due to Whaley's role as the league's Senior VP of Football Operations.

"When I was in Buffalo, I knew something was wrong when they drafted Jonathan Williams," Karlos told The Athletic. "I knew something was up. Y’all had alternative plans."

"Y’all bring Reggie Bush to camp and allowed him to practice? Reggie Bush went negative rushing yards for the season. And y’all release me?"

Of course, Williams and fellow teammate Marcell Dareus were both dealing with substance issues at the same time ... but Whaley decided to only cut Karlos, which the running back took as disrespect.

Now, Williams says he's learned from his mistakes and is determined to get back into the NFL via the CFL to support his family ... but it's clear he's not ready to forgive Whaley.

XFL Star P.J. Walker Goin' To The NFL!!! ... Signing With Panthers

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The first jump from the XFL to the NFL is here -- Houston Roughnecks stud QB P.J. Walker is going to sign with the Carolina Panthers!!

"Houston, it was great. I feel Houston has some of the best fans I played in front of. I appreciate everything they've done over the past couple of months," Walker told FOX 26's Mark Berman.

Of course, Vince McMahon's football league took a hit last week due to the coronavirus pandemic ... with its comeback season officially canceled.

But, it didn't take long for Walker to find employment elsewhere ... inking a deal to reunite with his old coach, Matt Rhule in Charlotte.

Walker played under Rhule at Temple from 2013-16 ... and broke a bunch of school records in the process.

FYI -- Walker was a straight-up beast on the field for the Roughnecks ... passing for 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns. Walker had a brief stint with the Colts after college but never made it off the practice squad.

It's not the first time a breakout XFL star has made their way to the NFL ... with Rod Smart AKA "He Hate Me" becoming a household name in the early 2000s.

Tim Tebow Had Talks with XFL ... Chose Baseball Instead

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Tim Tebow admits he had a "couple of conversations" with the people at the XFL -- but ultimately turned down Vince McMahon's new football league to continue his baseball career.

"There was some communication," Tebow told reporters at a Mets Spring Training media event in Florida over the weekend ... "We had a couple conversations."

But, the 32-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner says it's not the right move for him because he's laser-focused on making the NY Mets major league roster.

Tebow is entering his 5th season with the Mets -- where he's been trying to earn a spot as a power-hitting outfielder.

There's no bad blood between Tebow and the XFL -- in fact, it's the opposite. Tim showered the league with praise while explaining his decision to stick with baseball.

"I love what they're doing, and I think it has a chance to have success, and I think that's great."

"I think there needs to be a place for a lot of players that are really good, and should and could be playing in the NFL, and are better than a lot of NFL players. There's a chance they're going to be seen."

"So, I think it's awesome, and I think it's good for a lot of guys that are going to get a spot on an NFL roster because they're going to show a team they're worth it. But, for me, this is what I wanted to do and pursue it, and be all in."

The XFL also made a run at Colin Kaepernick -- but says the QB wanted a salary that the league just couldn't afford.

Tebow was a 1st-round pick in the NFL Draft back in 2010 but hasn't played in the league since 2015. He signed a minor league contract with the Mets in 2016.

XFL Players Chug Hard Seltzers After First Win ... 'Stone Cold' Style!!!

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SLAMMIN' SELTZER
XFL Battle Hawks

How did the XFL's St. Louis BattleHawks celebrate their first-ever win Sunday???

BY SHOTGUNNING HARD SELTZERS, BABY!!!

The postgame boozing all went down in Texas ... whereafter the Battlehawks beat the Dallas Renegades, 15-9, they hit the complimentary Bud Light Seltzers HARD.

Check out video from the locker room ... backup QBs Nick Fitzgerald and Taylor Heinicke grabbed the cans and went to work.

Fitzgerald went with the semi-traditional shotgun route ... biting into the can before pouring it down his throat. Meanwhile, Heinicke went straight-up Stone Cold Steve Austin style with his two cans!!!

Seriously, the footage is amazing.

As for the XFL's opening weekend as a whole ... seems most of the games went off without a hitch, which has gotta make Vince McMahon pretty happy.

Now get these guys some towels!!

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