May 9, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Chad Wheeler leaves football to ‘get the help I need’

Former USC offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was arrested early Saturday under suspicion of felony domestic violence, the troubling details of which have since come to light.

Wheeler, who played the last two seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, is accused of choking his girlfriend until she lost consciousness.

Court documents allege that Wheeler told his girlfriend to stand up and bow to him. When she refused to do so, Wheeler, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive tackle, allegedly attempted to choke her with one hand while smothering her with another, causing her to lose consciousness.

When she regained consciousness, Wheeler expressed surprise that she was still alive. She proceeded to lock herself in the bathroom, where she called 9-1-1. Officers responded and found Wheeler, who had picked the lock of the bathroom.

He was booked early Saturday morning and released Tuesday after posting $400,000 bail.

On Wednesday afternoon, in his first public comments since his arrest, Wheeler called the incident “a manic episode” and said in a Twitter post that he was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused to Alleah and her family.”

Wheeler said that he would “walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another.”

The Seattle Seahawks released a statement addressing the situation Wednesday, condemning domestic violence and explaining that Wheeler, scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason, would no longer be a part of the team.

Wheeler spent four seasons as USC’s starting left tackle from 2013-2016. In Dec. 2015, he was involved in an incident at an off-campus apartment in which he was detained by police and then transported under protective custody to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

During that incident, police responded to calls that a “disorderly” Wheeler was punching walls and windows while barricaded inside an apartment near USC’s campus with a 20-year-old female friend and her seven-month old son. Wheeler exited the residence, but then, ignoring police commands, returned inside. Police, fearing he would grab a weapon, then subdued Wheeler by firing multiple bean bag rounds.

Wheeler proceeded to miss USC’s Holiday Bowl appearance. USC coach Clay Helton said at the time that Wheeler was dealing with “a personal issue.”

Zach Banner, another former Trojans offensive lineman who roomed with him at USC, said on Twitter that Wheeler is “someone completely different than my roommate and brother at SC.”

“Today I had to come to terms with that,” Banner continued. “What he did was heartbreaking, and I will never forgive.”