Leaf announces Johnny Manziel as mystery redemption

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By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Leaf Metal Draft and Leaf Valiant released with a rare mystery redemption.

The company announced Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel – and latest Heisman Trophy Winner – will be the redemption.

The cards include 1-of-1 artwork with a cut signature. As an NCAA athlete, Manziel is not allowed to endorse cards for money. Leaf stated it acquired Manziel’s signatures from a third party.

“Leaf wishes to clarify that neither the cards, the use of the signatures included in the cards, nor the artwork, is sanctioned or endorsed by the personality, his university, or any other organization or licensing body,” Leaf CEO Brian Gray said in a press release. “The artwork is an original creation protected by the First Amendment.”

Manziel threw for 3,706 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a freshman.

Each card has been authenticated by PSA/DNA and each card includes an authentication sticker on back. Each card is also slabbed by Beckett Grading Services.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Darren Rovell spoke to Texas A&M’s director of compliance where he stated that Manziel informed them of the cards and that he did not authorize these cards to be made.

“He has not knowingly provided his autograph for use in these cards; and he will not receive any compensation from the sale of these cards,” David Batson told ESPN. “As for whether Texas A&M or Johnny Manziel must request that Leaf not sell these Mystery Redemption Cards, the answer is no because such a step is not necessary when a photo or painting is sold for private use.”

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Football. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook.


  1. Posted March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This seems like a lawsuit just waiting to happen. They not only use his image/likeness, but specifically tie it to his name.

  2. craig
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    On the Redemptions it says “2013 Draft Football HOT Rookie Cut Signature”,he is not a rookie he is still a sophomore in College!It is a nice idea.But I would rather wait for a on card Auto of his when he gets drafted.

  3. Ben
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    “The artwork is an original creation protected by the First Amendment.”

    First Amendment doesn’t circumvent likeness rights.

  4. David Johnson
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    This is definitely a little shady, and on the border for a lawsuit. I just hoped Leaf at least asked Manziel for permission, as he can give permission so long as he is not compensated and still be within the NCAA guidelines. It will be more interesting what happens once Leaf goes pro and whether he decides to sign an exclusive card deal then.

  5. Jacob
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Stay classy, leaf

  6. Ryan R
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    More adults making money off unpaid young guys

  7. card opinionator
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I predict the NCAA will shut this down within a week. Opens up too much of a can of worms for them.

  8. scott
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    i just hope i get the redemption back before someone gets sued and they decide not to ship anymore cards. could you just imagine how much the price of that card will go up if only a few go out.

  9. reggie
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Scott,I would not expect it to lead to riches.Remember,soon he will play in the NFL and people will choose his on card autographs then cut photo autographs like these.

  10. RJ
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Leaf is always shady. Just see “Best Of” for more.

  11. JM
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    People have lost likeness lawsuits for much less – they actually put his name on there as well. I can’t imagine Leaf would have any shot at winning a lawsuit.

  12. card opinionator
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    This is about to get ugly for Leaf. http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/21824355/report-company-using-johnny-manziels-signature-on-trading-cards

  13. Benny
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting that link. Most interesting part to me was that he won’t lose his eligibility by receiving cash judgement from lawsuits arising from stuff like this. Finally a guy who risks life and limb so that everyone around him can get rich (while those same people see to it that he never sees a dime of it) has found a way to make a little money.

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