DALLAS (CN) – Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel wants to play football again, saying in court Tuesday that his life is improving and that he needs to “get my life in order” after settling a misdemeanor domestic violence case.
Dallas County Criminal Court Judge Roberto Canas had ordered Manziel, 23, to appear before him for missing a mandatory progress report.
Dallas County prosecutors reached a conditional dismissal agreement with Manziel in December that requires him to complete an anger-management course, attend a domestic violence victim-impact panel and participate in the National Football League’s substance abuse program or go to another rehabilitation program.
Canas was skeptical about how seriously Manziel was taking the terms of the settlement. He told Manziel that his failure to follow the conditional dismissal terms indicates that a judge or a jury might have to “make a decision” about his life.
“I would hate for you to miss out on the opportunity that you have got right before you,” Canas said. “What is your thinking right now about where you are at in this case and how things will go forward?”
Dressed in a gray suit and purple tie, Manziel said he missed the progress report because he does not trust the NFL, due to its treatment of players in similar situations.
“I do not necessarily believe in what the NFL does. … I was very cautious in that regard,” Manziel said. “Having this be involved with them was kind of a slippery thing for me.”
Manziel cited difficulties in communication between the NFL Players Association and the league in his case.
“Everything has been going extremely smoothly and my life is trending upwards,” he said. “I don’t even want to let this get anywhere near the rabbit hole that you are describing. This situation is in my hands. My life is trending upward in my eyes and I am taking the responsibility I need to get my life in order.”
Canas told Manziel he thinks “we are on the same page.”
“I do not want to have another hearing like this,” the judge said. “I hope the next time we are in court is when you are signing the dismissal papers.
Escorted by his attorney, Jim Darnell of El Paso, Manziel did not answer reporters’ questions after the hearing. He made one statement: “I want to play football.”
Manziel’s former girlfriend Colleen Crowley accused him of hitting her in the head for trying to escape from his car in January 2016. She secured a protective order in neighboring Tarrant County two months later, saying she was still unable to hear out of one ear. Manziel agreed to stay away from her under the deal with prosecutors.
Now living in San Diego, Manziel was unsigned last season by any NFL team after being released by the Cleveland Browns and by successive sports agents. Known as Johnny Football, he was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Manziel had two other cases filed against him in 2016. He was sued two months after his indictment by a Los Angeles homeowner who claims a house he was renting sustained $29,000 worth of property damage during two days of partying.
In November, Manziel was sued by an Austin bartender’s assistant in Travis County Court, Austin. Eric Newton claimed Manziel punched him in the face, broke his nose and ran out of a back exit before police arrived.