The Pittsburgh Steelers have cut ties with rookie running back Chris Rainey following his arrest on Thursday in Gainesville, Fla. He was charged with one count of simple battery after an altercation with his girlfriend.
“Chris Rainey’s actions this morning were extremely disappointing,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “Under the circumstances and due to his conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Gainesville police said in a news release that officers responded to a call at 8:26 a.m. to an apartment complex on SW 42nd Place about a dispute between a man and a woman, which turned physical. According to a witness at the scene, Rainey and his girlfriend were arguing over Rainey’s cell phone.
When Rainey’s girlfriend attempted to get into her car, he pulled her out and slapped her across the face with an open hand, according to police. Both fell to the ground, she attempted to flee on foot, and Rainey gave chase to retrieve his phone from her purse, police said.
Rainey, 24, was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft. He primarily played on special teams, averaging 26.5 yards on 39 kickoff returns. Rainey was also used in the Steelers backfield occasionally, running for 102 yards and two touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 60 yards.
Rainey’s arrest was not his first encounter with the law. While attending the University of Florida, he was charged with felony aggravated stalking on Sept. 14, 2010. Rainey sent his girlfriend at the time a text message that read: “Time to Die B—- u and ur??” Rainey was immediately dismissed from the Gators by coach Urban Meyer.
Rainey pled guilty to a misdemeanor stalking charge and received deferred prosecution. The judge ordered him to pay $50 for the cost of prosecution, be evaluated and receive counseling for anger management/domestic violence issues. He was given the option of doing 10 hours of community service or donating $100 to a domestic violence shelter.
Those charges were dropped after he met those requirements and stayed out of trouble for six months.
Neither Rainey nor his agent, Joel Segal, was available for comment about Thursday’s incident.