Johnny Manziel reaches tentative deal on dismissal of domestic assault case

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

DALLAS -- Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has reached a deal with prosecutors for the conditional dismissal of a domestic assault case involving his former girlfriend.

Defense attorney Jim Darnell said that there was still work to be done but that he was encouraged after a Thursday morning hearing. A judge set another hearing for Dec. 1, when the case could be settled.

"That's all in progress," Darnell said regarding the conditions of any agreement. "Until we get something done, if we do, then we'll announce it."

Manziel is accused of hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley during a night out in January. The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Brittany Dunn, a spokeswoman for Dallas County prosecutors, said she couldn't comment because the case was still pending.

Manziel, who will turn 24 on Dec. 6, left the courtroom on Thursday without responding to questions. He talked on his phone as he walked ahead of reporters and cameramen and before quickly getting in a car driven by Darnell.

"He's doing OK," Darnell said. "Tough kid."

Judge Roberto Canas met in chambers for about 15 minutes with the defense and prosecutors. Manziel left the meeting after about five minutes and sat alone at the defense table, mostly looking down. The hearing after the meeting was brief, with Canas setting the next court date.

"Everybody will be required to be here," Canas said. "Then we will get this case down the road."

A spokeswoman for Dallas County prosecutors didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tentative deal doesn't end Manziel's legal troubles. He also faces a lawsuit for his alleged role in trashing a Los Angeles rental home, and Darnell has said he has spoken to the attorney representing a car company that lent a car to Manziel and friends. That car was totaled in an April accident.

Cleveland took Manziel with the 22nd overall pick of the 2014 draft. The Browns waived him in March after two tumultuous seasons marked by his inconsistent play and off-the-field headlines about his partying and drinking, including one stint in rehab.

Even though he's an unsigned free agent, Manziel served a four-game suspension this season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the domestic case remains under review by the league.

Manziel could face NFL discipline regardless of the legal resolution, if he signs with a team. The baseline for domestic violence cases is a six-game suspension. In August, the NFL's chief disciplinary officer Todd Jones told ESPN's Jane McManus that Manziel could be subject to a suspension of that length."If a club ever rolls the dice and brings him on board, he's got a six-game suspension that's hanging right now," Jones said at the time.

In two seasons with the Browns, Manziel played in 15 games with eight starts. Cleveland was 2-6 in those starts. Manziel has completed 147 of 258 passes (57 percent) with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a career passer rating of 74.4.

Since the 2015 season ended, Manziel has been dumped by two agents after both demanded a second trip to rehab for the player.

Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 while playing for Texas A&M. He has enrolled in classes at the university for the fall semester; he is listed in Texas A&M's current student directory as a senior whose major is in recreation, parks and tourism sciences.

The allegations in the domestic case stem from a night out on Jan. 30. Crowley said Manziel accosted her at a Dallas hotel, a confrontation that continued downstairs to the valet station. She said he forced her into a car and a valet disregarded her pleas for help.

The two eventually drove to where her car was parked in front of a Dallas bar, she said in an affidavit. She said Manziel got into the driver's seat and began to drive. Crowley said Manziel stopped when she tried to jump out of the car, but then he dragged her back inside and hit her.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.