The NFL is still investigating Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel's recent driving incident, but the league could discipline Manziel before that probe is complete, if it believes that he violated the personal conduct policy.
The policy states that anyone believed by commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation can be placed on paid leave at any time.
Manziel was stopped by police on Oct. 12 in Avon, Ohio, and questioned after witnesses saw Manziel and girlfriend Colleen Crowley arguing in a vehicle. The argument escalated to the point that Crowley tried to leave the car as it exited a highway.
The couple admitted to arguing, and Manziel told police they had been drinking earlier in the day. Police determined that Manziel was not intoxicated, and neither he nor Crowley was arrested or charged.
"If an investigation leads the Commissioner to believe that you may have violated this Policy by committing any of the conduct identified above, he may act where the circumstances and evidence warrant doing so," the NFL personal conduct policy states. "This decision will not reflect a finding of guilt or innocence and will not be guided by the same legal standards and considerations that would apply in a criminal trial."
The policy lists several forms of "prohibited actions," two of which are "Actual or threatened physical violence against another person, including dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and other forms of family violence" and "Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person."
The league is not commenting on the investigation, which is routine when a possible violation of the policy occurs.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said Friday that Manziel "more than likely" would be active and serve as the backup quarterback against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Crowley said Manziel hit her and pushed her head against the glass while driving. She also told police that she feared for her life at one point.
She told police she did not want to press charges and later posted on social media that she and Manziel were fine. Manziel also posted on social media, saying the argument looked worse than it was.
A witness reported that Manziel passed her car on the highway's shoulder at a high rate of speed then crossed several lanes to exit the highway. As he did, Crowley tried to leave the moving car, and Manziel pulled her back in.
The witness said Manziel was "flying" on the highway. Another witness said Crowley told her Manziel had hit her.
The league's investigation will look into whether there was physical violence or the threat of it and whether Manziel's driving posed a danger to others.
Under the personal conduct policy, discipline could be a fine, suspension or, in the worst cases, banishment from the league. Factors considered include the nature of the violation and the record of the employee.
Manziel told police he had two drinks in the afternoon before driving from downtown Cleveland to his home in the West suburbs. Police noticed no signs of impairment and did not give him a sobriety test.
The Browns quarterback went to rehab for 10 weeks from January through April in the offseason.