SPOKANE, Wash. -- Former Super Bowl hero Mark Rypien pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge of domestic violence against his wife.
Rypien was taken to the Spokane County Jail on Sunday afternoon after his arrest near a bank on the north side of the city. A witness who saw the couple called police and said Rypien's wife alleged he had struck her. Danielle Rypien was evaluated and did not need medical treatment, police said.
Rypien, 56, was released without bail; his next court appearance was scheduled for July 31. Prosecutors initially asked for a no-contact order between Rypien and his wife at the brief hearing, but she argued against that.
In a joint statement from Mark and Danielle Rypien released Monday night, the couple said: "In response to Mark being arrested for domestic violence, we want you to know that he did not commit any crime. ... Occurrences like this one are often chaotic scenes which are not conducive to revealing full clarity about what actually transpires.
"In Washington State, officers are mandated by law to make an arrest in a possible domestic violence case even where there is very little proof that a crime occurred. We will continue to cooperate with authorities to ensure that the truth of Mark's innocence comes out. ... We are confident that a complete investigation will result in the dismissal of all charges."
Rypien announced last year he believes he has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, caused by repeated concussions while playing in the NFL. But the statement said that suspected CTE did not play any part in the incident.
"Mark suffers from what we suspect is CTE and that does leave us with some challenging situations to navigate with the assistance of a team of fantastic professionals," the statement said. "This, however, was not one such situation and we are confident that in the coming weeks, clarity about this unfortunate situation will be provided."
Rypien was a lead plaintiff among 4,500 former players who won a settlement related to CTE in 2013. He has said that in the past he has attempted suicide and suffers from persistent depression and anxiety.
"I've been down the darkest path," he said last year. "I've made some horrible, horrible mistakes."
In a lengthy interview with The Spokesman-Review newspaper last year, Rypien acknowledged that he was also involved in a domestic violence incident with his wife in 2017.
"I got angry and I threw her on the bed a couple of times," Rypien said. He and his wife blamed a medication change for his behavior.
A high school quarterback in Spokane who went on to star at nearby Washington State University, Rypien was drafted by the Redskins in 1986. He played in four games during his last season in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, in 2001, although he did not play between 1998 and 2000.
Numerous NFL players have reported a wide variety of problems related to CTE, including homelessness, erratic behavior, suicide and other early deaths.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.