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Arizona Cardinals’ Jonathan Dwyer arrested on domestic violence charges

PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence on Wednesday, police said.

He was brought in for questioning and later charged with aggravated assault, among other things. Dwyer is accused of hitting his wife, Kayla, on two separate occasions in late July. Police said neighbors reported both incidents and responded at least once. Officers were met by Kayla, who told them she was arguing with Dwyer over the phone. He was inside the home at the time.

The two incidents took place on July 21-22. Police Sgt. Trent Crump said both were physical altercations. In the first, Kayla sustained a fracture. In the second incident, Dwyer allegedly threw a shoe at the couple’s 18-month-old son.

Kayla left the state after the incidents with their son. Police said Dwyer allegedly sent Kayla texts threatening to harm himself after she left.

Dwyer was in the locker room Wednesday during media availability. He was pulled from practice to answer police questions.

Police said he admitted to the incidents but denied assaulting his wife. He was charged with one count of aggravated assault that caused a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency and assault.

The team said they were notified of the charges Thursday and immediately deactivated Dwyer, meaning he cannot be around the team or facility for any reason.

They will be left with three running backs, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Chris Rainey, the latter of which was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers following domestic abuse allegations. He is currently on the team’s practice squad.

The Cardinals released Rainey Thursday and signed running back Kerwynn Williams to the practice squad.

The team could sign another running back through free agency.

He was drafted by the Steelers in 2010, where he played until signing a one-year deal with the Cardinals in March.

Dwyer’s arrest comes as the National Football League is under fire for its handling of off-field incidents. Last week, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges after allegedly disciplining his son with a switch, or small tree branch. He was not permitted to play last week, though he was reinstated for Sunday’s game until sponsors expressed concern. He is now prohibited from participating in all team functions.

Earlier this month, the NFL was heavily criticized for its handling of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who knocked out his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in a New Jersey elevator last February. He was first suspended for two games, then indefinitely suspended after TMZ released a video of the incident. Rice and Palmer wed after the incident and she blamed the media for the suspension.

KTAR’s Martha Maurer and Cooper Rummell contributed to this report.

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