ANDERSON, Ind. — The Colts abruptly waived promising running back Chris Rainey on Monday morning, a decision prompted by undisclosed off-the-field actions.
Coach Chuck Pagano said the decision to waive the Lakeland native and former Florida star was not performance-based. In fact, the team is in need of help at running back after the season-ending injury suffered by Vick Ballard (torn Achilles).
"It's an in-house deal," Pagano said. "That's all I'll say about that."
No additional details were immediately provided on what rules Rainey violated.
Rainey, 26, came to Indianapolis on something of a second chance after he was released by the Steelers on the heels of an arrest in 2013. He was accused by authorities in Gainesville of slapping a woman in the face. A police report said Rainey pulled the woman out of a car, slapped her, then grabbed her in an effort to retrieve a cellphone.
Before the events that prompted Rainey's release, the Colts envisioned him competing for a role in the backfield behind Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. He also was among the top candidates to return kickoffs.
FSU ROOKIE OKAY: The Panthers are breathing a sigh of relief over rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said an MRI exam revealed the team's first-round draft pick out of Florida State has a bone bruise in his left knee and will miss at least a few days of training camp. "We got a bit of good news," Rivera said. "It's stable, and everything is fine. There's nothing structurally wrong. There is a swelling and what we refer to as a hot spot." Rivera wouldn't give a specific timetable on Benjamin's return.
RICE SUSPENSION: NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch defended the league's two-game suspension of Ravens running back Ray Rice for his domestic violence arrest. "I think it is absolutely clear to all involved that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and will not tolerate it in our league," Birch said on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike show. "I don't know how you can reach a conclusion other than that, although I certainly respect the opinion."
GORDON HIRES REP: Browns receiver Josh Gordon, facing a one-year suspension over a positive drug test, has hired attorney Maurice Suh, who helped Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman win his appeal of a contested positive test, espn.com reported. Suh will work alongside NFLPA attorney Heather McPhee to try to help salvage as much of this season as possible for Cleveland's Pro Bowl receiver. Suh helped Sherman win an appeal in 2012 of his four-game suspension for reportedly using the stimulant Adderall without a prescription.
BRONCOS: Receiver Demaryius Thomas returned from bereavement leave, though his flight from Georgia didn't get back in time for him to participate in practice. He missed the first five days of camp after the death last week of his grandmother.
BROWNS: Offensive guard Jason Pinkston, who played three games last season because of an ankle injury, has not been medically cleared to practice.
LIONS: The team is postponing contract talks with All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh until after the season. Suh is entering the final season of his contract.
PATRIOTS: Running back Tyler Gaffney was claimed off waivers from the Panthers even though he needs season-ending knee surgery.