GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Former Florida and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey made a surprise appearance at UF’s annual pro day on Tuesday -- not to find another job, though.
Rainey stopped by to visit his former teammates and coaches and wasn’t trying to land a contract with another NFL team even though he has been out of work since the Steelers released him hours after his misdemeanor battery arrest on Jan. 10.
"I’m just being patient, that’s all," Rainey said. "I’m just waiting on my agent to give me that phone call.
"... Move on and all that stuff. Hope I go to a better offense and stuff. That’s all I want. When I get that phone call, it’s just time to work."
Rainey said he hopes to play in the NFL this season, but teams may be a little leery of signing him because of his two off-field incidents. The latest came in January, when he was arrested at a Gainesville, Fla., apartment complex after witnesses said Rainey and the female victim were arguing over Rainey’s cellphone, and Rainey pulled the woman out of a vehicle and then slapped her in the face with an open hand.
Rainey was charged with simple battery (dating violence), a first-degree misdemeanor. However, the victim wrote an email to the judge handling the case and said Rainey has never physically abused her, the incident was a misunderstanding, and asked that the charges be dismissed. Rainey eventually pled no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct and paid nearly $500 in fines and court costs.
"It was just bad timing," Rainey said of the incident. "Wrong place at a bad time. That’s all it is. I know nothing happens. When a witness says something, you can’t stop it. That’s all."
Rainey said the lesson he learned is, “Just don’t make a scene outside.” He also said he is still dating the woman.
Pittsburgh drafted Rainey in the fifth round last April and he ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, caught 14 passes for 60 yards, and averaged 26.5 yards on 39 kickoff returns in his first season with the Steelers.
Rainey’s first arrest was Sept. 14, 2010 after sending a threatening text message to his on-again, off-again girlfriend that read: “Time to Die B---- u and ur???” He was charged with felony aggravated stalking.
Rainey pled guilty to a misdemeanor stalking charge and received deferred prosecution. He eventually re-joined the football team on Oct. 10, 2010. He finished his career at Florida ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list (2,464 yards).