Steelers release Rainey after he is charged with battery in Florida
The Steelers cut running back Chris Rainey on Thursday hours after police in Florida arrested and charged him with striking a woman authorities identified as his girlfriend, acting as swiftly as they did with receiver Cedrick Wilson five years ago.
The Steelers released Rainey, 24, about seven hours after he became involved in an altercation that began with the two arguing about Rainey's cell phone.
“Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Witnesses told Gainesville, Fla., police that Rainey slapped the woman's face, then chased her because she still had his cell phone. There were no apparent injuries. Rainey faces a hearing Friday on a battery charge.
The arrest was another setback for a 2012 Steelers draft class that can't seem to stay on the field because of injuries or stay out of jail off the field.
In October, fourth-round pick Alameda Ta'amu was arrested following a police chase on the South Side in which his SUV struck several vehicles and several officers were required to control him. He faces numerous charges. The nose tackle was later cut and signed to the practice squad, but he returned to the 53-man roster late in the season.
Asked about the Ta'amu incident Wednesday, team president Art Rooney II called it “very disappointing. He's a young guy that learned a hard lesson. Hopefully, he learned his lesson.”
The Steelers didn't wait to see if Rainey did.
His swift dismissal prompted former Steelers lineman Chris Hoke to post a Twitter message: “Coach (Mike) Tomlin always says ‘Don't be the guy.' We saw today what happens when u are ‘the guy.'”
Wilson also was that guy.
The Steelers cut him within hours after he was charged with punching his girlfriend at a suburban Pittsburgh restaurant in March 2008. The couple had been involved in a fight two months earlier in which police were called. Wilson never played in the NFL again.
At the time, Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said, “The Steelers do not condone violence of any kind, especially against women.” But later that day, Rooney added, “Each incident must be considered on a case-by-case basis” after it was pointed out linebacker James Harrison remained on the team despite being charged with striking his girlfriend.
In 2010, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for four games by the NFL after a college student accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar, although he wasn't charged.
When the Steelers chose Rainey in the fifth round last year, they gambled he wouldn't be involved in more off-field incidents.
While playing at Florida, Rainey was arrested in 2010 on a felony stalking charge resulting from a text message he sent to a woman that read “time to die.” Rainey performed community service and attended anger management classes after the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Last month, Rainey was issued a defiant trespass citation, a summary offense, after entering the Meadows Racetrack and Casino near Washington, Pa., on Dec. 2, the same day the Steelers beat the Ravens, 13-10, in Baltimore. According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, a person can draw such a citation if that person agrees to stay away from a gaming center but returns.
Rainey had somewhat of a disappointing season following a standout training camp in which he was praised repeatedly by Roethlisberger for his speed, elusiveness and versatility.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Rainey was the Steelers' primary kickoff returner, producing 1,035 yards and a 26.5 average on 39 returns. He also ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, caught 14 passes for 60 yards and returned three punts.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Steelers notebook: Team seek ease on West Coast travel
- Steelers re-sign WR Heyward-Bey to 1-year deal
- Tomlin expects Steelers offense to grow
- Steelers notebook: Harrison return complicated by LeBeau, Titans
- Steelers notebook: Cornerback need will wait until draft
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell could move to replace Polamalu
- Steelers re-sign LB Harrison to 2-year deal
- Ex-Steeler Worilds makes ‘faith-based’ decision to move on from football