Without coming right out and saying it, Florida coach Urban Meyer implied Wednesday that suspended receiver Chris Rainey deserved a second chance.
Meyer said he met with a variety of people, including Florida president Bernie Machen and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, before opening the door for Rainey to return to the team.
“I let everything happen,” Meyer said of the legal process. “I just thought it would be in the best interest to get him around the team, and if he fulfills everything, try to make sure those things don’t happen again.”
Rainey hasn’t played since the South Florida game the second week of the season after being arrested and charged with felony aggravated stalking. He sent a woman he had been dating a text message that read, “Time to die (expletive).”
Two weeks ago, he reached a plea agreement with the prosecution, and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Part of Meyer’s decision in giving Rainey this second chance is that the victim never wanted charges brought against Rainey in the first place and said she didn’t feel threatened by Rainey.
Meyer said Wednesday that somebody met with the victim and relayed her thoughts back to him before he re-opened the door for Rainey to return.
“Chris has a history of opening his mouth and careless things coming out of his mouth,” Meyer said. “Obviously, this is the first time he’s said anything like this. So part of it is correcting that issue. A second part of it is a community service involvement and then keeping an eye out and making sure there are no other issues.
“Chris is not a violent person. Chris, like I said, at times says careless things. So we just have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Although he’s practicing with the team, Rainey will not play Saturday against Mississippi State. He has remained on scholarship.
“We put a contract together, and he has to fulfill his obligations before he’ll be allowed to play,” Meyer said.
The Gators could sure use Rainey’s speed and playmaking ability on offense and could get him back in time for the Georgia game on Oct. 30.