Lawyer: Manziel could play before inquiry is done

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The attorney for Johnny Manziel says even if the NCAA investigation of the Heisman Trophy winner isn’t completed by the start of the season the quarterback should be able to play in Texas A&M’s first game.

Jim Darnell, Manziel’s El Paso, Texas-based attorney, says he has met with Manziel and his family, but provided few details about the status or nature of the investigation.

He did say he believed that Manziel would play Aug. 31 when the Aggies open the season against Rice, but could not put a timetable on the case.

“I don’t know if it will be done before the season,” Darnell told the AP on Friday night. “I believe the process should be far enough along that he’ll be able to play.

“We have no control over how long the process will last.”

ESPN has reported the NCAA is investigating Manziel for receiving payment for signing autographs, a violation of amateurism rules that could put his eligibility in question for the coming season.

Darnell would not confirm that Manziel is being investigated for profiting from autographs. He declined to say if Manziel has already met with the NCAA or if the 20-year old quarterback has plans to speak with investigators.

He did say Manziel intended to cooperate with the NCAA.

Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman last season, and he has remained in the spotlight throughout the offseason.

He caused a stir in July when he left the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana a couple days early after, he says, he overslept and missed meetings and activities.

Texas A&M is coming off an 11-2 season and is expected to be ranked in the top 10 when this season starts. The Aggies face Sam Houston State in their second game of the season before hosting national champion Alabama on Sept. 14.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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