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A&M retains law firm that represented Auburn and Cam Newton to help Manziel

Johnny Manziel AP

Kevin Sumlin wouldn’t comment extensively on it Monday, but Texas A&M is lawyering up as allegations that quarterback Johnny Manziel received money for signing memorabilia have surfaced over the past day.

A&M confirmed to the USA Today a previous report by the publication that the school has retained the services of Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin and White as legal counsel. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same firm that represented Auburn in 2010 when former quarterback (and eventual Heisman Trophy winner) Cam Newton had his eligibility come into question.

There are some minor similarities between the two cases, but more differences. Whereas Newton’s father, Cecil, faced allegations of essentially shopping his son’s playing services to Mississippi State, Manziel is directly accused by a report from “Outside the Lines” of signing memorabilia for money while he was in Miami this past January to attend the BCS championship game.

Where Manziel’s situation could more closely resemble Newton’s case is an additional report from ESPN that was published Monday claiming Manziel’s friend and personal assistant told an autograph broker that the redshirt sophomore would not sign autographs going forward without compensation. In fact, that would appear to violate the Cam Newton rule passed by the NCAA that extends the agent label to other individuals close to an athlete, such as family or friends.

If the report is true, that is. And it shouldn’t be assumed that the Manziel case will have a similar outcome.

A&M is certainly looking for one though. The law firm was able to help keep Newton from missing any games during the 2010 season.

Manziel was at practice on Monday and Sumlin made it clear he plans on preparing for the season as though his starting quarterback will be eligible.

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35 Responses to “A&M retains law firm that represented Auburn and Cam Newton to help Manziel”
  1. thraiderskin says: Aug 5, 2013 11:05 PM

    Wow… don’t know if he broke the rules, but that move certainly doesn’t help him from a PR standpoint.

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Aug 5, 2013 11:14 PM

    Lightfoot, Franklin, and White have several PR firms they use and will likely begin their work post haste. First order of business…keep Manziel out of the media and give no further “ammunition” to the NCAA.

    There is no doubt that TAMU wants Manziel this season, at least. What is at doubt is whether Manziel wants TAMU and college football as much another season?

  3. donth8thehorns says: Aug 5, 2013 11:24 PM

    This kid is becoming a PR nightmare! Although I have defended him in numerous situations, it is becoming clear , A- he is doing himself no favors B- does he even want to play football any longer??
    He could have the tools to be an NFL QB but, any team shy of desperate would run from the noise this kid seems to attract or invite !

  4. pricecube says: Aug 5, 2013 11:31 PM

    That was a stupid decision… no matter how great that law firm is linking Manziel with Cam Newton in any way was sure to produce the above headline.

  5. deadeye says: Aug 6, 2013 12:40 AM

    Interesting, I wonder if Cam Newton will also be giving JF tips on how to weasel out of trouble.

  6. irishfbfan1 says: Aug 6, 2013 1:20 AM

    First of all the kid is so overrated its not even funny . He has not represented the Heisman with any class at all. He acts like he has never left his hometown or for that matter, his house.

    He reminds me of the fairy tale, “Cinderella “, and midnight is approaching. This guy does not get it, or does not care if he hurts others during his one after another , and another, and another blunders. He has no idea that he is making a fool out of himself, and that’s the sad thing.

    Only reason this punk gets the Heisman over Te’o is because Manti dominated almost every award possible and they tried to spread things out here. My wife called it when every award went to Te’o, she said he has dominated all other awards and they will not let him have the Heisman to somebody else. Well Mr Johnny Blunder should have won an award alright, not Heisman, maybe the most overrated award.

    How ironic it is to see Te’o earning the respect that the veterans of the Chargers, popular with his teammates, helped another individual overcome one of their fears, and guess who’s Jersey is the top seller out in San Diego? By the same token look at the fool that plays for Texas A&M? Karma baby!

  7. bigdinla says: Aug 6, 2013 1:28 AM

    The reason he won the Heisman over Teo is because he was a much better football player. T’eo wasn’t even the best LB in the country. Stop letting your blind ND homerism blind you. Teo is good, but not even close to best player in the country.

  8. suprmous says: Aug 6, 2013 2:24 AM

    irishfbfan1, we at LSU, had at the time a contender for the Heisman but sadly they weren’t ready for him but that’s ok. He’s goin to show the naysayers what he’s made of while with St. Louis.

    Tyrann looks like a saint compared to what Manziel does with the antics he’s been pullin lately with or without the help of his parents. However, Ty did admit and still does admit he was wrong fo doin what he did. I don’t see any admissions on Manziel’s part. I just have to wonder if he’s not tryin the system to see how far they’ll go before they say uncle and tryin his parents to see how long it’ll take them not to pay his way out of trouble. Just sayin …..

    You guys have a nice evenin.

  9. woebegong says: Aug 6, 2013 6:12 AM

    If the reports are true, and the kid did accept money, I am not sure I would be too surprised by it. He has shown a typical lack of maturity for a young man, who finds himself in the spot light suddenly, and I think he probably thought he could slide through this and get some extra cash in his pocket.
    It would be ashamed though as he will have let both his team mates and school down in a big way. I don’t know what it would do for his career in the pros. chances since he is mighty young, and I doubt would be ready to fit right in with any team. If he is indeed guilty of what he is accused of, he could have potentially cost himself millions of bucks in his future. He would have to hope that some team was willing to draft him, most likely late in the draft and then be able to work with him for a couple of years, to be ready to play on Sundays. I don’t know if the pro. teams, with the way money is and new player contract agreements, would be willing, much less able to do that.

  10. mgmac says: Aug 6, 2013 6:38 AM

    if the allegations are true, for a kid that has a pipeline of money coming thru daddy this was a dumb, dumb move.

  11. overratedgators says: Aug 6, 2013 7:18 AM

    T’eo’s girlfriend only does appearances for money too.

  12. jackvcr says: Aug 6, 2013 7:24 AM

    He has a personal assistant?!

    Oregon’s Mariota is a better player and apparently doesn’t need ‘personal assistants’.

    Good grief.

  13. dcroz says: Aug 6, 2013 7:39 AM


    Sooooo…let me see if I have this right. You think that instead of the Heisman going to a freshman who had a fantastic season but has acted like a total jackass since then, the award should have went to a LB who had a great regular season but got exposed in the BCSNCG and who won most (if not all) of his awards based mainly on the great story surrounding his girlfriend who died of cancer early in the season…and who turned out to be fake, with evidence that he at least knew she was fake for some time and may have even been the one who invented her. Yeah, I can see how that would have been an improvement in terms of “representation” of the Heisman.

  14. cometkazie says: Aug 6, 2013 8:55 AM

    Does having an “agent” interest the NCAA?

  15. lastdukestreetking says: Aug 6, 2013 9:25 AM

    Hope Manziel gets awy with this if true. NCAA rules are such total BS!

  16. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 10:22 AM


    Not only that, Te’o knew she was fake before the Heisman vote and decided not to tell that story until afterwards… in order to not lose votes.

    Johnny ‘Football’ was the clearly the most outstanding college football player and it wasn’t really even that close.

    Now one point I will concede to you, I imagine that Te’o would have represented the Heisman better. (But they don’t award Heismans for ambassadorship, but for Outstanding Play) Johnny ‘Manziel’ is obviously too young and too immature to handle the pressure and fame. He’s too spoiled and too narcissistic seemingly to have any self control.

    I’m pretty sure he did what they say he did. I doubt they will be able to prove he received money though as no one saw it. Regardless of the NCAA ruling I think Sumlin should suspend him.

  17. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 10:30 AM


    “and guess who’s Jersey is the top seller out in San Diego? By the same token look at the fool that plays for Texas A&M? Karma baby!”


    How much you wanna bet A&M has sold more #2 jerseys than San Diego has sold #50 jerseys

  18. mogogo1 says: Aug 6, 2013 10:41 AM

    There were no other law firms other than the one that helped Cam Newton? Terrible choice from a PR perspective.

  19. guinsrule says: Aug 6, 2013 10:45 AM

    Manziel may come from oil money, but from the espn article, it looks like daddy still controls the purse strings. It said his dad bought him a Mercedes-Benz because “he didn’t want his son to do something stupid to get it for himself.” Possibly too late on that one…

  20. bertenheim says: Aug 6, 2013 10:59 AM

    23 days ’til football.

  21. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 11:18 AM

    bertenheim says:
    Aug 6, 2013 10:59 AM
    23 days ’til football.

    Not soon enough….

  22. Myron Mesecke says: Aug 6, 2013 12:03 PM

    Aggies think the rules don’t apply to them. Now they will do everything they can to get away with it after they have been caught.

  23. florida727 says: Aug 6, 2013 12:08 PM

    #bertenheim and #8to80, you guys will be glad to know I spoke with both Ben and JT personally, and their plan to eliminate the months of February through August so we can watch college football again is almost complete. They told me to give them another “3 weeks or so” and their efforts will pay us big dividends. Got to give those guys credit, they delivered on their word…

  24. pricecube says: Aug 6, 2013 12:33 PM

    They should have hired whoever made the T Town Menswear scandal go away for Bama. It was like the program was made of magical teflon… almost the exact same scenario as well. Julio Jones, Trent Richardson, Terrence Cody et al signing hundreds of autographs and likely receiving some form of compensation (Julio was photographed 16 different suits on game day walks).

  25. pricecube says: Aug 6, 2013 12:37 PM

    Oh and one more thought. I always hear that Ohio State got nailed so hard for tattoogate because the coverup is allegedly worse than the actual crime. The Vest tried to sweep everything under the rug and that is why the penalties were so harsh… but from what I can tell that is what every major program does. T Town Menswear was swept under the rug at Bama. $cam Newton at Auburn… ditto…. and now this … A&M lawyers up and is looking to make it disappear.

  26. Deb says: Aug 6, 2013 1:00 PM

    It goes against my grain for a Freshman to win the Heisman. They’re too young and have too much eligibility left during which they can be overcome by galloping ego and the kind of outside pressures (from agents, etc.) that are affecting Manziel. But taking Manziel out of the mix wouldn’t mean Teo should have won the Heisman. I’ve come to the conclusion that he was the victim of an elaborate hoax and don’t hold that against him. But he was still overrated as a defensive player.

    As for Manziel’s future … A&M had better be sure about Johnny Football’s status. The last thing they want is to have him play, then have any games in which he participates questioned later.

    This whole business is monstrously sad. It’s hard to watch a talented athlete deliberately blow off his own foot with a shotgun. Whatever happened here, it seems Manziel is hellbent on career suicide.

  27. steeldominance says: Aug 6, 2013 1:41 PM

    Johnny Football. Soon to be Johnny Would you like fries with that? The NCAA needs to start imposing sanctions on the SEC. Itd be great if college football was any way close to a level playing field.

  28. steeldominance says: Aug 6, 2013 1:46 PM

    dcroz and texansblog, if either of you believe any of the crap that you just wrote….you are delusional. TeO didnt win Heisman votes for the sob story. He won Heisman votes because he had an outstanding season and was the leader of a team that went undefeated in the regular season. He didnt come out with the fake girlfriend story because he didnt want to create a distraction to the team right before the NC game. get a clue.

  29. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 2:10 PM


    He didnt come out with the fake girlfriend story because he didnt want to create a distraction to the team right before the NC game. get a clue.

    Yeah… how’d that work out for him? Manziel set a bowl record for total yards and Te’o got stomped on by Eddie Lacy.

    And talk about delusional… If you think the dead girlfriend story didn’t have ANYTHING to do with his rise in popularity and thus his higher profile, then you’ve been sniffing too much gold spray paint.

    Of course it did. Sure Te’o had a great a season, but other players had just as good of a season maybe better. Shazier from OSU easily had a better season than Te’o. More tackles, solo tackles, TFL, Sacks, and FF. The only statistic that Te’o is better is INTs. OSU was on suspension (for nothing that Shazier did) so he gets completely overlooked but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a better season on an undefeated team.

    Manziel deserved the Heisman as far and away the best college football palyer in 2012.

  30. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 3:20 PM

    Just heard broker has told ESPN that Manziel was paid $7500 for autographs….

  31. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 6, 2013 3:35 PM

    Its pretty obvious at this point he did it. And apparently multiple times. A video has been shown to ESPN according to Joe Schad showing Manziel signing and talking about the money. no videa of money actually changing hands but c’mon.

    I’m starting to worry he might lose a whole year for this. And depending on when this one happened… his Heisman.

  32. granadafan says: Aug 6, 2013 4:03 PM

    The NCAA is so incompetent and slow that the lawfirm of Dewey Cheatam and Howe could beat the NCAA.

  33. cornbreadbbqred says: Aug 6, 2013 4:51 PM

    C’mon! Did you really think you would get any thing different from a kid who doesn’t mind being called “Johnny Football”. That is green light to go out into the world and act like a pre-schooler at recess! I say Broadway Joe looks Phi-Beta-Kappa next to this kid!

  34. ksctychiefs says: Aug 6, 2013 9:19 PM

    tamu is going to shell out a lot of clams to this law firm……and still….this kid is never going to play another down of college ball……..(besides this kid doesn’t even want to play)….

  35. gatorprof says: Aug 7, 2013 12:58 PM

    Smart move. Need to protect the money machine.

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