“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.”
Rainey, 24, was selected by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida. He averaged 3.9 yards on 26 carries, gaining 102 yards in limited running action for Pittsburgh. Rainey also had two touchdowns in the 2012 season.
He was more valuable as a kickoff returner than a rusher. Rainey gained 1,035 returning yards and returned 39 kickoffs for the Steelers.
The former Steelers running back was arrested Thursday morning in Gainesville, where he played football for the Gators.
The Gainesville Police Department received a 911 call from a witness who said they observed Rainey involved “in a verbal altercation that turned physical,” according to a statement released by the department.
The fight revolved around a cellphone. According to police, Rainey’s girlfriend got into his roommate’s car when the ex-Steelers running back confronted her about the phone from the passenger side of the vehicle and pulled her out of the car.
Witnesses told police they saw Rainey slap his girlfriend of nine years. She was able to get away, but Rainey chased after her because she ran away with his cellphone, according to the police statement.
“Rainey grabbed the bag again, and they both fell to the ground again. Neither party suffered visible injuries from the encounter. Multiple witnesses confirmed the incident,” the police statement said.
Rainey was charged with simple battery (dating violence) and taken to the Alachua County Jail for booking, Gainesville police said.