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Ex-Seahawks lineman Chad Wheeler pleads not guilty to assaulting his girlfriend

Content warning: This story includes details of suspected domestic violence

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chad Wheeler entered a not guilty plea at Monday morning’s arraignment hearing in King County’s Maleng Regional Justice Center, per ESPN’s Brady Henderson.

Wheeler was arrested on Jan. 23 on suspicion of attacking his girlfriend at his Kent residence. He was formally charged with first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest.

Among the many disturbing details recorded in the police report, the woman accused Wheeler of strangling her unconscious and then expressing surprise that she was still alive after she regained consciousness. In addition to numerous facial injuries, she also suffered a fractured humerus and a dislocated elbow.

After posting the $400,000 bond, Wheeler wrote on his Twitter account said he was having “a manic episode” the night of the incident, and apologized to his girlfriend and her family. He also announced that he was stepping away from football to “get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another.” The woman did tell police that Wheeler had recently stopped taking his medication for bipolar disorder.

While Wheeler’s arrest occurred on Jan. 23, news of his arrest was not made public until Jan. 25. Wheeler was due to hit free agency in March but since this NFL season is ongoing and he was still under contract with the Seahawks, Seattle waived him on Jan. 26, and he obviously was not claimed by any team.

The Seahawks later released a statement condemning Wheeler’s alleged actions and expressing support for the woman. They also provided hotline numbers for people experiencing domestic violence and those suffering from mental health crises.

Wheeler’s trial is scheduled for April 6. He’s required to wear a monitoring device on his ankle and is not allowed to leave the state of Washington.