Johnny Football is practicing with Texas A&M.

Whether he starts the season opener is another question.

Coach Kevin Sumlin on Monday said he would not speculate when asked if Johnny Manziel will be his starter Aug. 31 against Rice after an ESPN report that the NCAA is investigating whether the Heisman Trophy winner was paid for signing hundreds of autographs last January.

"There's a lot of people involved in that decision," Sumlin said without being specific.

If Manziel was paid for his autograph on memorabilia, it could potentially violate NCAA amateurism rules and put his eligibility in question a year after his jaw-dropping performance on the field made him the first freshman to win the Heisman as college football's top player.

Speaking to the media as the team began preseason practices, Sumlin said he learned of the ESPN report Sunday.

For now, Manziel will lead the Aggies. But his coach is clearly thinking of backups, too. "He'll get as many reps as he was going to get yesterday," Sumlin said of Manziel, before adding: "We've got to develop a backup quarterback no matter what."

  • Hours after a judge decided against sending Jeremy Hill to jail for a probation violation, LSU's leading running back last season apologized to his teammates and then joined them at practice. Coach Les Miles stressed that Hill would face further punishment from coaches that will be handled internally, leaving open the possibility that Hill could be forced to sit out some games.

    NHL

    IceArizona completed its purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL and received approval from the league's Board of Governors, ending a four-year search for an owner in the desert.

  • Shawn Burr, a fan favorite during his time with the Detroit Red Wings who also played two seasons for the Sharks (1997-99), has died, the Detroit Free Press reported. He was 47. Burr had battled cancer in recent years but died Monday evening after an accident over the weekend.

    Miscellany

    Former Warrior Chris Gatling, accused of squatting at a Paradise Valley (Ariz.) home and then trying to list the house for rent on Craigslist, has pleaded guilty to theft and forgery charges. Gatling entered the guilty pleas to one count of theft and one count of forgery last week in Maricopa County Superior Court. His sentencing is set for Oct. 4.

    Gatling, 45, played his first 41/2 seasons with the Warriors beginning in 1991-92 and also played for seven other teams in an 11-year career.

  • Veteran Sprint Car driver Kramer Williamson died from injuries suffered during a qualifying race at Lincoln Speedway in central Pennsylvania. He was 63.