The Pittsburgh Steelers have always taken domestic violence seriously among their players, and so it should have come as no shock that running back Chris Rainey was released summarily after his domestic violence charge earlier in the year. Rainey has since plead no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct and paid his fines and fees and appears to be moving past this incident.
When the Steelers released Rainey he was put on waivers, however, none of the 31 other NFL teams made a waiver claim on Rainey so he is now a free agent and can sign with any team who will offer him a contract. The question is, as he now appears to be putting this incident behind him, and if we follow the facts of the case was not charged with domestic violence, will the Steelers be one of the teams interested in bringing him back?
Rainey was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL draft as a sort of slash running back and wide receiver with excellent speed and quickness and solid return skills. He was also drafted with the baggage of a previous domestic run-in, this time in college. He was charged with stalking after sending a threatening text message to a former girlfriend which got him removed from the team for a month before being allowed to return. For many Steelers fans, this raised eyebrows and fans wondered why the Steelers drafted him in the first place after his legal problems.
But they drafted him, which tells me that they were willing to forgive and forget in that domestic incident, so now that this latest indiscretion seems to be behind him, will Rainey’s talent allow the Steelers to do so again? They can certainly use his talent on offense, especially in light of the potential loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Rainey was never fully integrated into the offense in 2012, so we never got to see what he was capable of. But it’s clear head coach Mike Tomlin wants that kind of player on the roster so if they do not allow Rainey to return to the team, will they instead choose to sign or draft a similar type of player for 2013?
Even if the Steelers do not re-sign Rainey, some team will. He’s put this situation in his rear view mirror and when it comes right down to it, talent matters, and Rainey has plenty of that.