Chris Rainey, the 2012 fifth-round draft pick who was sent packing by the Steelers after he was arrested on Thursday and accused of slapping his girlfriend, had two previously unreported run-ins with the law during his rookie season in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Rainey was ticketed in September for driving on a suspended license, and in October he received a citation for “defiant trespass” at a racetrack casino.
When the Steelers announced on Thursday that they are cutting Rainey, they mentioned only his arrest on Thursday. But it may be that the Steelers decided to cut him not simply because of that incident, but because they viewed it as the last straw in a string of incidents. Rainey was already viewed as a character risk heading into the 2012 draft because of his history at Florida, where he was arrested for stalking an ex-girlfriend.
The ticket for driving on a suspended license was later dismissed for unknown reasons. The “defiant trespass” charge is a result of unusual circumstances: Rainey had signed himself up for Pennsylvania’s statewide gambling self-exclusion list, which allows individuals to have themselves banned from gambling establishments and ineligible to collect winnings. When Rainey showed up at the Meadows Racetrack & Casino outside Washington, Pennsylvania, despite being on that list, he was arrested.
The Post-Gazette reports that people usually sign themselves up for that list if they know they have a gambling problem and are worried that in a moment of weakness they’ll break down and gamble. It is unclear why Rainey chose to put himself on the list.
It is also unclear how both of these incidents were kept quiet during the season.
What is clear is that Rainey has run out of second chances. When the Steelers drafted him, they said they did so in part because of his relationship with center Maurkice Pouncey, whose family took Rainey in during high school. That relationship helped the Steelers overlook Rainey’s personal troubles. On Thursday, the Steelers essentially acknowledged that overlooking his personal troubles was a mistake.