CLEVELAND — Before Johnny Manziel was found "safe and in no danger," police in Texas used a helicopter to help locate the Browns quarterback, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
Manziel is being investigated by police in Fort Worth and Dallas following a disturbance early Saturday during which he may have assaulted his ex-girlfriend.
Manziel, who has had two tumultuous seasons in the NFL, was identified by police after they were called at about 2 a.m. to investigate a report of a possible assault at an apartment complex in Fort Worth. The officers didn’t find the caller, but they spoke to an unidentified 23-year-old woman who said she was involved in a disturbance with her ex-boyfriend earlier that night in Dallas.
Sgt. Steve Enright later said the man was Manziel, the 23-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner who has made far more headlines for his off-field behaviour since college than for anything he’s done for the Browns.
There were no arrests, and it’s not clear if Manziel has yet been questioned.
Police didn’t say if the ex-girlfriend was injured. An ambulance was called, but she was not taken to a hospital. The police report said the woman was unco-operative with officers, who were unable to locate a crime scene. The woman told the officers she was involved in a disturbance with her ex-boyfriend earlier that night in Dallas and possibly other locations.
Fort Worth police are working with Dallas police to determine if a crime occurred.
According to a statement released by Fort Worth police, they used their Air One Unit helicopter to locate Manziel after his unidentified ex-girlfriend said she was concerned about his well-being. Police called Manziel’s cellphone while searching for him before determining he was safe.
The Browns had no immediate comment. An email sent Saturday to Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, was not immediately returned.
Beyond the legal matter, Manziel could face discipline from the league. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email the league is "aware and looking into it."
This is the second time Manziel has been investigated by police following an argument with an ex-girlfriend.
In October, police in Avon, Ohio, received an emergency call after Manziel and Colleen Crowley were spotted fighting as they drove near the quarterback’s home on the west side of Cleveland. Manziel was not arrested but the matter prompted an NFL investigation to see if he violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
Crowley had told police that Manziel hit her and pushed her head against a car window. The couple told police they had been drinking alcohol earlier in the day.
Manziel was later questioned by a league investigator and cleared — on the same day he was named Cleveland’s starter for the final six games of the season — but it was another mark on his already tainted reputation.
Manziel spent more than 70 days in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation facility specializing in alcohol and drug addiction treatment last winter. He has never publicly disclosed why he was admitted to facility.
His latest off-field problem won’t help his standing with the Browns, who seem to be distancing themselves from the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M.
As of Friday, new coach Hue Jackson had not yet been in contact with Manziel. The Browns were disappointed when the second-year quarterback, who was taken with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2013 draft, missed a scheduled medical treatment on the final day of the season.
Manziel was in concussion protocol at the time, and although he was not required to be at the Browns’ home finale against Pittsburgh, the team was unsure of his location when reports surfaced that he was partying in Las Vegas. He was fined for not reporting to the team’s facility on Jan. 3.
Earlier this week, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he thought Manziel’s relationship with the team could be saved, but his behaviour may force the team to release or trade him.
"I think Johnny made progress on the field last year. I think that’s undeniable," Haslam said Thursday night. "We have a certain expectation for our players and that includes Johnny, and he’s got to live up to those expectations."
If the Browns want to release Manziel, the earliest they can do so is Feb. 8, the day after the Super Bowl, when the NFL’s waiver system begins. Teams can’t make trades until the new league year begins on March 9.