The Steelers waived rookie halfback Chris Rainey after he was arrested this morning in Gainesville, Fla., and charged with simple battery after being accused of slapping his girlfriend in the face.
"Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing," team general manager Kevin Colbert said in a release.
"Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers."
Rainey, a fifth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2012 from the University of Florida, was lodged in the Alachua County Jail for booking, according to a press release issued by the Gainesville Police Department.
Gainesville police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said this afternoon that Mr. Rainey will remain in the county jail until he has a hearing before a judge Friday morning.
The hearing from the jail via video camera with a judge at the county courthouse will be at 9 a.m. Friday morning, when a bond may be set for him to pay to allow his release from custody.
Mr. Rainey has to stay in jail until Friday morning because he was processed too late to attend a hearing Thursday morning, Mr. Tobias said.
According to that press release, police received a 911 call at 8:26 a.m. that reported a man and woman were arguing and it turned physical.
Officers arrived and identified the man as Rainey, 24.
Witnesses told the officers that the two argued over a cellphone and that the woman entered a vehicle of Rainey's roommate.
Rainey confronted her, began pulling her out of the vehicle and then slapped her with an open hand, police said.
Rainey and the woman fell to the ground, according to the release.
She ran away and Rainey chased her because, police said, his cellphone was in a bag the woman was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag and both fell down.
According to police, neither Rainey nor his girlfriend suffered visible injuries. Police said they had multiple witnesses.
The press release states the two have been dating for nine months.
Rainey was arrested and accused of a felony stalking charge in Florida in 2010 over a threatening text he sent to a woman that said, "Time to die."
That charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor and he was ordered to perform community service and attend anger management classes.
And in December, Rainey was cited for defiant trespass, a summary offense, when he entered the Meadows Racetrack and Casino outside Washington, Pa., after he had signed himself onto a self-exclusion list, according to the Magisterial District Judge Jay Weller's office. Notice of a $300 fine recently had been mailed to him.
According to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, self-exclusion "allows a person to request to be banned from all legalized gaming activities and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses or accepting complimentary gifts or services or any other thing of value at any licensed facility."
If someone on the list steps onto the gaming floor, the facility must deny wagers and ask the person to leave, at which point the person may be arrested for trespass.
Rainey played in all 16 games for the Steelers as a rookie and led them with 1,035 yards on 39 kickoff returns. He had 102 yards rushing on 26 carries with two touchdowns, and 14 receptions for 60 yards.
The Steelers did not have an immediate comment, and Rainey's attorney, Huntley Johnson, in Gainesville, would not comment.Steelers - mobilehome - homepage - breaking
Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @EdBouchette. Sean D. Hamill and Molly Born contributed.