Chad Wheeler, former Seattle Seahawks and USC offensive tackle, was released from King County Jail on a $400,000 bond after his arrest Saturday on suspicion of felony domestic violence charges.
Wheeler threw his girlfriend onto a bed after she refused to bow to him per his request, according to a Kent Police Department report obtained by the Seattle Times. The paper reported that Wheeler then strangled her to the point of unconsciousness and said, “Wow, you’re alive?” when she regained consciousness. The Times reported that the woman locked herself in a bathroom to call 911. When the officers arrived, they found both Wheeler and the woman in the bathroom, the Times reported.
Wheeler was at first uncooperative, according to the police report cited by the Times. The paper reported that he shouted “I don’t beat women!” before being taken away by officers. The woman, who was taken to receive medical care in Kent, Wash., had suffered a dislocated shoulder and was bleeding from her face, the Times reported.
Wheeler tweeted a statement Wednesday saying the actions were a result of a manic episode. He apologized to the woman, her family and those close to him.
“It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another,” he said. “I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.”
The Seahawks also released a statement saying Wheeler is a restricted free agent and is not with the team. The team condemned his actions and expressed support for the alleged victim.
“The Seahawks are saddened by the details emerging against Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence. Our thoughts and support are with the victim,” the statement read. “We encourage Chad to get the help he needs.”
Wheeler spent the 2013 through 2016 seasons at USC as the starting left tackle and received a plaque along USC’s All-American Walk after his senior season.
Wheeler was involved in a police scuffle in December 2015 — his junior year at USC — after barricading himself in an apartment and punching walls and windows. According to NBC, he was detained by police and transported to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
Multiple former Trojans spoke out against Wheeler’s actions. Former USC tight end Randall Telfer, who played with Wheeler from 2012 through 2014, called for USC to disassociate from Wheeler and remove all his records.
“I hope [USC football] and [USC] removes Chad Wheeler from all records and bans him from ever returning …” Telfer said.
Wheeler’s former roommate and fellow offensive lineman Zach Banner said Wheeler’s actions are “completely different than my roommate and brother at SC, and today I had to come to terms with that.”
“What he did was heartbreaking, and I will never forgive,” Banner continued. “My thoughts, and prayers go out to the victim. She and her health should be the [utmost] priority.”