Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com passed along comments from James, who had Manziel as a client as part of his marketing firm, LRMR, before the agency ended the relationship on Wednesday, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
James sidestepped questions about how the NFL star's off-field problems could impact his marketability in comments made before LRMR released the news it would no longer have Manziel as a client, instead stating: "I think it's more concerned for him individually."
ESPN Las Vegas reported Monday that Manziel was seen at a nightclub in the gambling mecca Saturday night, one day before the Browns' season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's alleged to have used the name "Billy" as well as a disguise in an attempt to hide his identity.
James didn't know all of the details, but he said he's hoping the quarterback can get things turned around, per ESPN:
I'm not quite sure, I don't know all the details on it. I've really kind of haven't been all up on it but I've heard a little of it. It's just a distraction for not only himself, but for everyone that's around him including family, people that represent him, the people that are around him. And he'll figure it out at some point. We all hope.
Manziel finished his second season in Cleveland with a lackluster 79.4 passer rating across nine games. He did flash some of the upside he often displayed en route to winning the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M, but he lacked the consistency of a franchise quarterback.
The more prominent issues surrounding him since he arrived in the NFL have been a growing list of off-field problems, including a trip to an inpatient rehab facility. It's brought to question whether he has the necessary dedication to succeed at the highest level of football.
As James stated, all the people around him can do is hope he realizes he's heading down the wrong path.