By Steve Ginsburg
(Reuters) - The Indianapolis Colts on Thursday asked that Josh McNary, a second-year linebacker charged with raping a 29-year-old woman in December, be placed on the Commissioner Exemption list.
Being on the list means McNary would be taken off the field with pay until his legal issues are resolved. Only National Football League Commissioner Goodell has the authority to place or remove a player from the list.
"After reviewing the documents supporting the very serious criminal charges filed yesterday afternoon against Josh McNary, the Colts have requested Commissioner Goodell to immediately place Josh on the League’s Commissioner Exemption list," the team said in a statement.
McNary, accused of attacking and raping a woman in his Indianapolis apartment, was charged Wednesday in Marion County Superior Court with felony rape, criminal confinement and battery, according to court records.
The charges come just days before the Colts play the New England Patriots in the American Football Conference Championship on Sunday with the winner headed to the Super Bowl.
"The Colts sincerely hope this extraordinarily serious matter will be resolved expeditiously and that justice will prevail," the team said.
There was no immediate word on whether the would agree to the Colts' request.
Cases of domestic violence and sexual assault have rocked the National Football League over the last six months, and Goodell has responded by toughening sanctions against offenders.
Several players, including 2008 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, have been placed on the list.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg)