The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with a serious situation concerning one of their now former players. Last week, The Seattle Times reported that offensive tackle Chad Wheeler was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence, and accused of assaulting his girlfriend. The Seattle Times reported that Wheeler appeared in King County District Court and was ordered not to have contact with the alleged victim and surrender all weapons. His bail was reportedly set at $400,000, which he has since made and was released.
On Monday, ESPN reported that Wheeler had pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest. The victim reportedly appeared in court with her left arm in a sling and stated that she did not feel safe as long as Wheeler was out of custody. Wheeler was ordered to remain in Washington on electronic home detention with a GPS-equipped ankle monitoring device.
This disturbing story began during the early morning hours of Jan. 23. A Kent Police Department report said police responded to a call of a woman who was locked in a bathroom following a "physical fight" with her boyfriend, according to The Times. The woman reportedly called 911 and stated that she was being "killed." The police were advised that she had suffered a dislocated arm and was bleeding as well. The report also said that officers could hear the alleged victim screaming from inside the apartment when they arrived at the residence.
Here's how the altercation began, according to the report obtained by The Times:
"The report said the incident began when Wheeler asked the victim to bow to him, and when she did not he grabbed her and threw her on a bed.
The report said Wheeler then strangled the victim before she lost consciousness. The report also said when she regained consciousness, Wheeler was standing near the bed and said, 'Wow you're alive?'"
Wheeler's contract was with the Seahawks was set to expire and the club has reportedly made it known that he will not be back with them in 2021. According to the transaction report, they've even gone ahead and cut Wheeler on Wednesday, speeding up the end of his team with Seattle. They also released a statement supporting the victim and urged Wheeler to seek help.
In the aftermath of this incident, Wheeler took to social media and wrote, "Events happened over the weekend that transpired from a manic episode. I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused to Alleah and her family. I apologize profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me. The most important thing right now is that Alleah gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening. ... It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another. I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed."
Wheeler played at USC, but went undrafted in 2017 due to off-field problems as well as injury issues. He got his first chance with the New York Giants and started in 19 of the 27 games he played through two seasons, but was released ahead of the 2019 season. Wheeler then signed with the Seahawks' practice squad but did not see any on-field action that year. In 2020, however, he spent some time on the active roster and played in five games.