(Reuters) - Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, who led his team to a 1992 Super Bowl victory and now faces mental health issues he says result from his years on the field, has been charged with domestic violence, police said on Monday.
Rypien, 56, was arrested outside a Spokane bank on Sunday and charged with fourth-degree assault after police found his wife lying on the ground, said Police Sergeant John O’Brien. Washington state law requires police to arrest the suspect in an alleged domestic assault case.
O’Brien described Rypien’s arrest as routine, noting that the former National Football League player was “very cooperative” with authorities.
Since leaving the game in 2001, Rypien has publicly said he believes he suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated concussions and hits to the head common in football that can cause erratic mood swings and behaviour and memory loss.
CTE currently can only be formally diagnosed by studying the brain during an autopsy, making doctors unable to confirm it in living patients. It has been confirmed in other former NFL players, including Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson and New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, all of whom died by suicide.
The NFL has faced lawsuits from multiple former players over the league’s past handling of concussions and care for ailing retired players. The NFL has introduced rules changes to better protect quarterbacks and reduce the risk of repeated head injuries for all players.
Mark Rypien was involved in a prior domestic violence incident with his wife in November 2017, he said in an interview with The Spokesman-Review. At the time, his wife was arrested, but the former quarterback said he was largely to blame for the incident.
The Canadian-born Rypien was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXVI, a 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Minneapolis.
Rypien played in the NFL from 1988 through 1997, and briefly came out of retirement to play for Indianapolis in 2001.
Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Bekrot