GAINESVILLE — Former Florida running back/return specialist Chris Rainey was dismissed from the team by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday hours after he was arrested in Gainesville on a charge of simple battery.
According to a report from the Gainesville Police Department Rainey, who played for the Gators from 2008-11, and the alleged victim were in an argument over Rainey's cell phone when the woman entered the vehicle of Rainey's roommate, and he began to confront her on the passenger side of the vehicle. He eventually began pulling her out of the vehicle.
Witnesses told police they observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand. Both Rainey and the female victim then fell to the ground. The victim was able to run away, according to the report, but Rainey chased after her because his cell phone was in a bag the alleged victim was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag, and they both fell to the ground again. Neither Rainey nor the woman suffered visible injuries, according to police. Multiple witnesses confirmed the incident, according to the police report.
The report says Rainey admitted to officers that he tried to grab the purse, but denied slapping the woman, whom he has been dating for about nine months. He remained in the Alachua County Jail on Thursday awaiting first appearance Firday morning.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement: "Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing. "Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers."
Rainey was arrested once during his time with the Gators after he texted his then-sometimes girlfriend angry messages including "Time To Die." The woman did not want to press charges and he later accepted deferred prosecution for misdemeanor stalking. He was suspended five games that season.
Rainey graduated from Florida in December 2011 and was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft. He was predominantly a special teams player with the Steelers, returning 39 kicks for 1,035 yards.
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.