Manziel ad­mits: ‘I need to get my life in order’

Judge warns: Fol­low terms for as­sault charge dis­missal.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORT - By Na­heed Ra­jwani Dal­las Morn­ing News

For­mer Texas A&M quar­ter­back Johnny Manziel as­sured a Dal­las County judge Tues­day he’s try­ing to turn his life around so a mis­de­meanor as­sault charge against him can be dis­missed.

Manziel, 23, was charged with mis­de­meanor as­sault last year. His ex-girl­friend ac­cused him of kid­nap­ping, beat­ing and threat­en­ing to kill her dur­ing a fight over an­other woman, which she said left her deaf in her left ear.

Last fall, the Dal­las County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice and Manziel’s le­gal team reached an agree­ment to dis­miss the charge against him if he met cer­tain con­di­tions, such as prov­ing he’d com­pleted a sub­stance abuse pro­gram. The DA’s of­fice has said it could take up to a year for the charge to be dis­missed.

Judge Roberto Cañas on Tues­day told Manziel that he is wor­ried the quar­ter­back isn’t tak­ing his con­di­tional agree­ment seriously be­cause he missed a dead­line to up­date the court about his progress.

The agree­ment with the DA’s of­fice re­quires Manziel to take an anger man­age­ment course; at­tend a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tim im­pact panel; and par­tic­i­pate in ei­ther the NFL’s sub­stance abuse pro­gram or go to a court-ap­proved drug and al­co­hol rehab fa­cil­ity.

“Not every­body who comes through here gets this kind of op­por­tu­nity, be­cause right now, you’re in charge of what hap­pens to your case,” Cañas told Manziel.

“If you de­cide not to fol­low the terms of the con­di­tional dis­missal, then ba­si­cally what you’re say­ing to me is that you ei­ther want me to make a de­ci­sion about your life, or you want six peo­ple whom you’ve never met to make a de­ci­sion about your life,” the judge said.

The judge then asked Manziel to share his take on the case.

Manziel, stand­ing be­fore the judge, said he was cau­tious about work­ing with the NFL be­cause he doesn’t have as much trust in the league “based on past sit­u­a­tions” and how it has treated play­ers. Manziel said he now un­der­stands the timetable for his dis­missal agree­ment.

“Ev­ery­thing has been go­ing ex­tremely smoothly, and my life is trending up­ward,” Manziel said, “so I don’t even want to let this get any­where near the rab­bit hole that you were de­scrib­ing. This sit­u­a­tion is in my hands . ... I need to get my life in order. Th­ese are the things I need to do.”

The judge told Manziel he wants him to be suc­cess­ful in what­ever he wants to do in life.

“But I need you to be suc­cess­ful in this con­di­tional dis­missal pro­gram, OK?” Cañas said to­ward the end of the hear­ing.

Manziel and his at­tor­ney, Jim Dar­nell, left the court­house with­out say­ing much to the news re­porters who fol­lowed them ask­ing re­peat­edly for com­ment. And while many of the peo­ple in the court­house didn’t seem to rec­og­nize Manziel, some of them stopped to take pho­tos of him or yell his name as he walked by.

The for­mer Cleve­land Browns player shook the hand of a woman who shouted, “Quar­ter­back, woohoo!” on his way out.

“I’m never wash­ing my hand again,” the woman said later. “I might san­i­tize it, but I’m not go­ing to wash it.”

The DA’s of­fice has warned that the con­di­tional dis­missal agree­ment will be tossed if Manziel doesn’t com­plete all of its re­quire­ments within a year or if he is charged with an­other of­fense. If he doesn’t meet the con­di­tions, he would be pros­e­cuted on the Class A mis­de­meanor as­sault charge. The max­i­mum pun­ish­ment for a con­vic­tion on that charge is a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Dal­las County prose­cu­tors on the as­sault case say they plan to keep tabs on a sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing Manziel. Late last year, a bar em­ployee in Austin sued Manziel in a Travis County court and ac­cused him of punch­ing him and break­ing his nose. Austin po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the re­port. It is un­clear whether Manziel will face any charges in that case.

Manziel has had sev­eral pub­lic lapses in a four-year span. In the sum­mer of 2012, just weeks be­fore the start of what would be his Heis­man Award-win­ning sea­son at A&M, he was jailed af­ter a fight in Col­lege Sta­tion’s night­club dis­trict. He later reached a deal with prose­cu­tors to plead guilty to fail­ing to prop­erly iden­tify him­self.

By 2015, Manziel was play­ing pro foot­ball for the Browns. That Fe­bru­ary, the team said he had en­tered a treat­ment pro­gram. Af­ter leav­ing rehab that April, he apol­o­gized to the Browns and the “fans that I let down.”

LM OTERO / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ex-Ag­gies QB Johnny Manziel (right) walks with lawyer Jim Dar­nell af­ter a court hear­ing Tues­day in Dal­las. Manziel told a judge he’s get­ting his life on track.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.