News broke out of Gainesville, Fla this morning, when Steelers running back Chris Rainey was arrested for slapping his girlfriend in a dispute over possession of his cell phone. Hours later, the team terminated his contract and severed all ties.
According to the team's official website, he was waived because of the incident. Kevin Colbert, the team's general manager, said of Rainey's release:
"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 selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Florida University, where he had strong ties with fellow Steeler and former Gator Maurkice Pouncey and his family. Rainey also had legal problems during his time at Florida, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor stalking charge.
Rainey had earned a spot as a running back on a roster heavy at the position because of his athleticism, and ability as a special teams returner. Judging by the Steelers quick reaction to the situation, Pittsburgh in no way felt Rainey was required for the team to succeed through the future.
While Rainey may still face legal ramifications for his single count of domestic battery, he will not be doing it as a member of the Steelers. Perhaps once the dust has settled, he may be able to find his way back onto an NFL roster. Interestingly enough, Alameda Ta'amu, who was drafted a round earlier than Rainey in the same class, was charged with 18 separate counts during an intoxicated altercation with authorities earlier this season. Ta'amu was suspended and then waived, but he was soon re-signed back to the team's practice squad. Judging by the team's reaction to this morning's incident, Rainey will not be receiving any such second chance.
Rainey's termination will force the Steelers to find a new kick returner, and open the door for a wide open running back competition in training camp.