RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Dee Eskridge, back from a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, apologized Friday for the incident of alleged domestic violence that led to his arrest earlier this year.
Eskridge, a second-round pick by the Seahawks in 2021, was arrested in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington, in February after an altercation with the mother of his child. According to court records obtained by ESPN, he was charged with fourth-degree assault/domestic violence and interfering with reporting domestic violence, both gross misdemeanors. The latter charge has since been dismissed.
“First off, I would just like to apologize to the organization, apologize to my family, everybody that was affected by it,” Eskridge said in his first public comments since the arrest came to light when the NFL announced his suspension in August. “I take full responsibility in the situation and I’ve grown from it. I’m just ready to get it behind me and be the person I’m meant to be and not all of this stuff.”
The alleged incident occurred on Feb. 4. According to a criminal complaint filed in King County District Court, the woman told Bellevue PD that Eskridge, 26, had recently been going through periodic bouts of rage, and that she could sense he was having anger management issues when he arrived home that evening. She went into their bedroom with their then-3-month-old daughter and locked the door in order to avoid Eskridge, who gained entry into the room after hearing the child crying.
The woman told police she stood between Eskridge and their daughter, holding up her hand to create space between the two, and that Eskridge smacked her hand out of the air before shoving her into a dresser. According to the woman, Eskridge then threw her to the ground and used his hands to pin her down before she kicked him to break free.
The woman told police that when she regained her feet, Eskridge shoved her into a dresser again before grabbing her neck — without constricting her airway or blood vessels — and shoved her to the ground a second time. The woman said Eskridge took her personal phone and Apple Watch to prevent her from calling 911, and that she managed to place the call on her work phone but did not realize the call connected.
Eskridge, who was holding the child when police arrived, initially told officers that the altercation never became physical, according to the criminal complaint. Police documented several scrapes and red marks on the woman’s arms, neck and chest. Based on those injuries and the woman’s account, officers determined probable cause to arrest him.
According to the complaint, Eskridge gave another statement after being placed under arrest, saying he sensed the woman’s mood was off when he returned home, that he didn’t want their daughter to be around her in that state and that he became concerned for the child’s safety when he heard her crying. Eskridge said that when he entered the bedroom, the woman stumbled and fell backward, and that she kicked him before grabbing him while she was on the floor.
Eskridge told police the woman came at him after regaining her feet and that she scratched the right side of his neck. The officer wrote that he was not able to make out any obvious marks of abrasions on Eskridge’s neck, and that Eskridge said he did not know where the marks on the woman’s body came from.
Eskridge pleaded not guilty to both charges and was released on personal recognizance on Feb. 6. According to King County District Court records, the charge of interfering with domestic violence reporting was dismissed on May 25. Eskridge received a deferred prosecution on the assault charge, with 18 months of supervised probation.
Per an agreement Eskridge entered into, the charges will be dismissed in 12 months upon completion of domestic violence therapy.
“I’m doing therapy,” Eskridge said Friday. “I’ve been doing that. It’s helping me grow as a man. I’m a young man. Everybody makes mistakes.”
Eskridge’s attorney, Jared Ausserer, told ESPN: “From Dee’s perspective, he regrets the incident but has taken full responsibility for what has transpired and is engaged in treatment to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again, but he was really just concerned for his child and has taken responsibility. In the end, hopefully this case will be dismissed shortly.”
Eskridge’s suspension ended Monday, though he was allowed to return to team headquarters two weeks ago. The Seahawks received a roster exemption that has allowed him to practice this week without counting against the 53-man roster. He was limited on Wednesday (knee) and a full participant on Thursday and Friday. Eskridge injured his knee in the Seahawks’ Aug. 10 preseason opener and did not return to practice before his suspension began.
Coach Pete Carroll stopped short of declaring that the team will activate Eskridge ahead of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns but said the receiver is physically ready to play.
“He just kind of reminded us of the guy that we hoped to see and expect,” Carroll said. “He’s quick and explosive and all that stuff and he’s come back ready to go. He’s really prepared well to do that.”
Chosen 56th overall out of Western Michigan in 2021, Eskridge appeared in only 20 games over his first two seasons because of various injuries, including a severe concussion he suffered in his NFL debut. He has 17 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown in his career.
ESPN investigative reporter Paula Lavigne contributed to this report.