GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Pittsburgh Steelers and former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey was arrested Thursday morning after a physical altercation with his girlfriend, according to Gainesville police.
Police said they received a 911 call from a witness about 8:30 a.m. that Rainey, 24, and the woman were in a verbal altercation that turned physical.
Witnesses told officers that Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey's cellphone. The woman got into the car of Rainey's roommate, and Rainey confronted her on the passenger side of the vehicle and began pulling her out of the vehicle, police said.
Witnesses said they then saw Rainey slap the woman across the face with an open hand, according to police.
Both Rainey and the woman fell to the ground, police said. They said the woman was able to run away, but Rainey chased after her because his cellphone was in a bag his girlfriend was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag again, and they both fell to the ground again, police said.
Neither suffered visible injuries, police said, adding that several witnesses confirmed the incident.
Police said Rainey and the woman have been dating for about nine months. Rainey is charged with one count of simple battery, or dating violence. He was booked into the Alachua County jail.
The Steelers, who selected Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, waived shortly after being made aware of his arrest.
"Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing," general manager Kevin Colbert said. "Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers."
Rainey worked primarily on special teams during his rookie season. He averaged 26.5 yards on 39 kickoff returns. The Steelers used him occasionally as a change of pace in the backfield. Rainey finished with 102 yards rushing and two scores while also catching 14 passes for 60 yards.
Rainey's agent, Joel Segal, didn't return a phone call for comment.
Thursday's arrest wasn't Rainey's first brush with the law. He was arrested Sept. 14, 2010, and charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony, for allegedly sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message that read, in part, "Time to die ...."
Rainey spent a night in jail and was dismissed from the team by coach Florida coach Urban Meyer the next day, after Meyer said Rainey violated the program's core value regarding violence against women. Rainey agreed to a plea deal two weeks later and eventually returned to the field.
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