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Johnny Manziel's El Paso-based attorney says he's glad the case was handled quickly

By Leonard Martinez
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:38:39 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 01:03:16 PM CST

Patricia G Photography

Attorney Jim Darnell

EL PASO, Texas -

Texas A&M and NCAA came to an agreement on a half-game suspension of quarterback Johnny Manziel after an inquiry into whether or not he was paid to sign autographs.

He will sit out the first half of Saturday's game against Rice.

"It was handled quickly and expeditiously and we appreciate the work of the enforcement staff of the NCAA and representatives of Texas A&M University that worked hard to get a rapid resolution," said Jim Darnell, Manziel's El Paso-based attorney.

Darnell has been confident since he took the case in July that Manziel would play his sophomore season. Darnell said he could not get into specifics about the case but did mention that they met with the NCAA and the university on Sunday and they found no evidence that Manzel ever took an money for autographs.

Texas A&M University and the NCAA released a statement Wednesday saying that there is no evidence that Manziel received money in exchange for autographs, based on currently available information and statements by Manziel. Due to an inadvertent violation regarding the signing of certain autographs, Texas A&M declared Manziel ineligible and submitted the following conditions for reinstatement to the NCAA: 

• A one-half game suspension for Manziel

• Manziel will address the team regarding the situation and lessons learned

• Texas A&M will revise its future education concerning student-athlete autographs for individuals with multiple items 

Based on the information submitted by the university, the NCAA accepted the conditions as put forward by Texas A&M. If additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate. NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign and based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case.

Does Darnell consider himself the black knight facing the NCAA?

"I don't know that I'm the black knight but it's just nice to be able to do something good for nice people,"Darnell said.

Darnell told ABC-7 in early August that Manziel would sign autographs for everyone that asked because of an experience he had as a child. Manziel waited at a golf course to get Tiger Woods' autograph but wasn't able to get it.

When asked if he talked about how Manziel will approach giving autographs in the future, Darnell said they did talk about autographs but couldn't reveal what he said because of attorney-client privilege.

"He understands he has to be a little more careful (about signing autographs)," Darnell said. "It's sad you have to be careful about being nice. That's the part that gets me."

Darnell estimates he's represented 15 to 20 players and coaches in cases with the NCAA over the years. Most cases have ended up in his client's favor.

"It's almost impossible to compare cases. They're all hard. This one is no exception," Darnell said.

Asked if he got an autograph of Manziel for himself Darnell said no.

Read Texas A&M and NCAA's full statement on Manziel by clicking on the story link under Related Content to left of this page.

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