Manziel's troubles mount, police open criminal investigation
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle. Johnny Manziel's ex-girlfriend told police the Cleveland Browns quarterback hit her during an argument last weekend in Texas and said he appeared to be on drugs. Fort Worth police released a report Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 that provided the first details of the altercation Saturday night between Manziel and Colleen Crowley. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Johnny Manziel's troubles – both legal and personal – are worsening.
A scrambling quarterback who can usually wriggle his way out of a predicament, Manziel is under pressure unlike any he's felt before.
Dallas police announced Friday night they were launching a criminal investigation into a domestic violence assault complaint filed against Manziel, who was involved in an altercation last weekend during which he allegedly struck his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, several times.
On Thursday, police in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, said they had closed their investigations into allegations involving Manziel.
The turn of events came on the same day Manziel was dropped by his agent, his father said he fears for his son's life and it was revealed that Crowley received a protective order against the former Heisman Trophy winner, preventing him from seeing her for two years.
Manziel's world appears to be crumbling.
The 23-year-old, who electrified college football just a few years ago at Texas A&M with his ability to make game-breaking plays, is a falling star. After two combustible seasons, the Cleveland Browns said earlier this week that they intend to release Manziel next month, putting his onetime promising professional career in peril.
By initiating their new investigation, Dallas police said detectives would determine what, if any, criminal charges Manziel would face. They noted it is not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to question or delay reporting an assault.
Crowley, who told police last week that Manziel was violent with her at a Dallas hotel and later while she drove with him to her apartment in Fort Worth, released a statement to television station WFAA on Friday night. Crowley said she met with domestic violence specialists at the Dallas Police Department a day earlier to describe what happened on the night of Jan. 29 and to answer questions.
''I don't know what will happen next with this case – that'll be up to the Dallas Police Department,'' she said in the statement, which also asked for privacy.
It was not immediately clear if Manziel has a lawyer who could comment on the criminal investigation. The Associated Press left messages seeking comment for Manziel, his parents and a lawyer who represented the player when he was at Texas A&M.
Paul Manziel told The Dallas Morning News that his son refused to enter rehab facilities twice in the past week.
''I truly believe if they can't get him help, he won't live to see his 24th birthday,'' he told the newspaper.
The elder Manziel also said he tried to have his son admitted to a psychiatric and chemical dependency hospital, but he was allowed to leave despite his father telling officers he believed his son was suicidal.
Manziel entered the NFL with a party-boy reputation. He spent 73 days last winter in a Pennsylvania treatment center specializing in care for alcohol and drug dependency. The lengthy stay – Manziel never disclosed why he was admitted – seemed to change him and he returned to the Browns last season far more committed following a rough rookie season.
But there were more signs of trouble this past season, forcing the team to move on from a player they selected with the No. 22 overall pick in 2014.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters on Friday that he hasn't been able to contact the quarterback.
''Johnny has not responded to us, but we'll do anything we can to help him personally and our thoughts and prayers are with Johnny and his family,'' Haslam told reporters in San Francisco ahead of the Super Bowl. ''We're not worried about Johnny Manziel the football player, we're worried about Johnny Manziel the person, and I think that's all we need to say on the issue.''
Manziel's agent, Erik Burkhardt, expressed ''deep regret'' in deciding to end the business relationship with a personal he considers a close friend. For Burkhardt, there was no longer any choice.
''Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter, and he knows I have worked tirelessly to arrange a number of professional options for him to continue to pursue, it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his own hands,'' the agent said in a statement.
''His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order. Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it the function of my work is counterproductive. I truly wish the best for Johnny and sincerely hope he can, and will, find the kind of peace and happiness he deserves.''
Beyond his legal issues, Manziel is also being reviewed by the NFL, which is looking into whether he violated its personal-conduct policy. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the inquiry is ongoing. It's the second time in four months the league has been forced to examine Manziel, who was accused by Crowley of striking her during a heated roadside argument near his home in Avon, Ohio.
That incident in October was disturbing.
Nothing compared to what Manziel is dealing with now.
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Withers reported from Cleveland. Associated Press writer Emily Schmall in Fort Worth, Texas, contributed to this report.