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Former NFL player Larry Johnson (pictured) was arrested in Las Vegas last Friday for allegedly assaulting and strangling an ex-girlfriend until she blacked out.  Now the running back is facing charges of felony domestic violence, according to TMZ.

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Johnson, who once signed a $45-million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, was arrested for the attack outside the Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel at around 4 a.m. and remained in a cell for 18 hours.  He was then released on a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday to face charges.

After police were summoned and arrived on the scene, they approached the unidentified ex who was crying and had visible bruises and scratches around her neck.  She reportedly told the officers that Johnson had choked her to the point of unconsciousness.

According to police, Johnson had a few scratches on his face as well.

The athlete, who maintains his innocence, contends that he tried to recount the actual facts of the incident to police, however, they would not allow him to do so. The 32-year-old insists that he did not strangle the woman and he alleges that the woman is not an ex but an acquaintance.  In an effort to tell his side of the story, Johnson put in a call to TMZ.

Johnson told the celeb news site that the woman would not leave his hotel room after a night of club partying.  He insists that the woman began attacking him, kicking and slapping, as he tried to remove her from his room.  Johnson also claims that once he removed the woman from his room and she was outside his door, she tried to kick it down. He points out that if there are surveillance cameras in the hallways of the hotel, then the woman’s antics should have been caught on film.

Proving his case might be a rather difficult undertaking since Johnson has not maintained a sterling reputation with the softer side over the years: Johnson used to date latina reality TV star Julissa Bermudez and has been arrested four times since 2003 on various assault charges against women.

Johnson now faces a possible five years in prison and a $15,000 fine if convicted.

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