- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey was arrested Thursday morning in Gainesville for slapping his girlfriend in the face during an altercation over a cell phone, Gainesville Police told the Miami Herald.
Rainey, a fifth-round pick out of Florida who just completed his rookie season for the Steelers, was charged with one count of simple battery (dating violence), a first-degree misdemeanor.
Witnesses told police that Rainey and a female got into an argument because she took his cellphone and got into the vehicle of Rainey's roommate. According to the police report, Rainey went to the passenger side of the car where he pulled the woman out of the car and slapped her across the face. The woman was later identified as Rainey's girlfriend of nine months.
This isn't the first time Rainey has been in trouble. In September 2010, Rainey was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking. He reportedly went to a woman's house and the two spoke for 10 minutes and then the receiver was told to leave. According to a Gainesville, Fla., police officer, Rainey sent the woman a text reading "Time to die," which prompted her call to police. He had been dating the woman on and off for "about three years," according to the report.
Rainey's latest arrest raises character issues with the Steelers' 2012 draft class. Nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, a rookie fourth-round pick, was involved in an embarrassing drunken driving arrest in October. According to police, Ta'amu was driving an SUV the wrong way at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 when he fled from officers and crashed into four parked cars, injuring a woman. He then tried to run away before he was restrained by four officers and arrested, authorities said. The Steelers released Ta'amu in November but re-signed him by the end of the season.
5hEric D. Williams