SAN FRANCISCO » If Johnny Manziel wants help, the NFL and its players are ready to step in.
The troubled quarterback simply has to accept it.
“We wish to give Johnny as much support as he is willing to receive, we can’t make anyone do anything,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said today before the NFL Honors show. “I’ve seen his father make a statement, reach out to the family to make sure the family knows the National Football League, the Cleveland Browns, the players association — everyone’s here to support you, but you have to embrace it.”
Might not be so easy for the 23-year-old star in a tailspin.
Dallas police said 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.
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.
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 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, preventing him from seeing her for two years.
Also, the Browns said earlier this week that they intend to release Manziel next month after just two seasons.
Vincent said the league has reached out to both the Browns coaching staff and Manziel’s family asking the quarterback to consider a helping hand. Vincent said the worry now isn’t about Manziel as a player but a person.
Vincent noted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned that Friday in his news conference the league stands ready to give Manziel as much as support as the quarterback wants.
Rams running back Reggie Bush, on the red carpet, said everyone was young and made mistakes. But he believes the league could help Manziel.
“The NFL definitely has everything that it needs to be able to help him, all the resources that it needs to help,” Bush said. “I think he’s a great player. I love watching him play. He’s exciting. He’s young, and I think he has some maturing, some growing up to do.”
Hall of Famer Mike Ditka coached Jim McMahon in Chicago, so he has experience with a renegade quarterback.
Ditka said he would sit Manziel down and tell him the limitations he must work within because of the code of responsibility that goes with playing in the NFL.
“Where else in life can you get a job playing a sport you grew up playing as a kid and make millions of dollars? Hello…,” Ditka said. “Guys don’t look at it this way. What an opportunity he has to be a great example to young people and people in the Cleveland area. I don’t know what’s going to happen to him now. … You only get so many chances in life.”