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Joe Namath ‘pulling for’ Johnny Manziel amid off-field trouble, thinks ‘he has talent to play in NFL’

In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, file

In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks with media members after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Credit: AP / Scott Eklund

SAN FRANCISCO — Joe Namath flashed that Broadway Joe smile when he was told how old troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel is.

“Damn,” he said when given the answer. “I remember one time I made a mistake when I was 23. Wait a minute, it might have been more than one.”

Namath was known for playing off the field just as hard as he did on it. But unlike Manziel, whose legal and societal matters seem to be distracting from his professional responsibilities, Namath always seemed able to gather himself at game time.

Manziel’s most recent run-in includes reports that he was involved in a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend in Texas. His father told the Dallas Morning News this week that Manziel has refused to enter rehab and that he fears his son might not live to see his next birthday.

The Browns issued a statement this week condemning his behavior and are expected to release him in March. His agent issued a statement on Friday saying he no longer will represent him because of Manziel’s actions.

Namath said he has met Manziel on a few occasions.

“I like him,” he said. “I think he has talent to play in the NFL . . . I’m just pulling for him. I hope he can mature, stay healthy and continue to develop.”

Manziel is under police investigation for allegedly hitting ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. She told police the former Texas A&M star struck her “several times” at a Dallas hotel and later when they drove back to her apartment in Fort Worth. The police departments in both cities said Thursday that their investigations were closed, but Dallas police said Friday that it was reopening its investigation after receiving a complaint of a domestic violence assault.

The Dallas Police Department issued this statement Friday:

“Following yesterday’s release, today the Dallas Police Department received a complaint of a domestic violence assault that occurred in Dallas on January 30, 2016. A criminal investigation into the incident, in which Johnathan Manziel is the listed suspect, has been initiated. Detectives will thoroughly investigate the case to determine what criminal charges, if any, will be filed and victim services will be offered.

“As there are many emotional factors involved, it is not uncommon for a victim of domestic violence to question or delay reporting an assault. This is an on-going investigation and updates will be made as information becomes available.’’

With The Associated Press

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