January 30, 2016 / 6:23 PM / 3 years ago

NFL player Manziel investigated over possible assault: police

(Reuters) - The ex-girlfriend of Johnny Manziel, a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns football team, was questioned by police in Fort Worth, Texas, over a possible disturbance involving the athlete, police said.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws a pass in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Fort Worth police said in a statement that officers went to an apartment complex early on Saturday on a report of a possible assault. They spoke to Manziel’s ex-girlfriend, who described a possible disturbance between the two earlier in the night in nearby Dallas.

A preliminary investigation revealed a possible assault had occurred in Dallas, but the ex-girlfriend did not cooperate with the officers, who could find no evidence of a crime in Fort Worth, police said.

Fort Worth police said they notified their colleagues in Dallas of a possible disturbance in their jurisdiction.

Dallas police said in a statement that they were in the preliminary stages of the investigation and would not comment further.

Manziel’s ex-girlfriend also expressed concern about the well-being of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner for Texas A&M University, Fort Worth police said.

Fort Worth police said they called his cell phone and used a helicopter to try to find him, before determining he was in no danger.

A representative for Manziel could not be reached for comment.

Manziel, 23, who was known as “Johnny Football” during his standout college years, has seen his reputation for partying overshadow his career with the Browns, where he has only sporadically been used as a starting quarterback since he began playing for the team in 2014.

In October, police in Ohio questioned Manziel after witnesses reported him driving dangerously and getting physical in an altercation with his girlfriend. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.

The National Football League has faced criticism over its handling of domestic violence by its players since the 2014 arrest of Ray Rice. The running back, who then played for the Baltimore Ravens, was initially suspended for only two games, but after video showed Rice knocking his then-fiancee unconscious, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the suspension indefinite.

The NFL has since toughened penalties for domestic violence. Rice is still seeking to get back on the field with a team.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernard Orr and Lisa Von Ahn

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