Former Gators running back Chris Rainey was arrested Thursday and charged with simple battery during a dispute with his girlfriend over a cell phone.

Later in the day, Rainey, 24, was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said.

A Gainesville Police Department statement said Rainey allegedly struck the woman in the face with an open hand, and then chased her down when she ran away.

He is currently in the Alachua County Jail.

The GPD released the following statment detailing Thursday's incident:

"At approximately 8:26am on January 10th, 2013, the Gainesville Police Department received a 911 call from a witness that reported a male subject and a female subject involved in a verbal altercation that turned physical.

"Officers arrived and identified Christopher J. Rainey as the male involved. Witnesses told officers that Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey’s cellphone. The female victim entered the vehicle of Rainey’s roommate, and Rainey confronted her on the passenger side of the vehicle, and began pulling her out of the vehicle.

"Witnesses then observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand. Both Rainey and the female victim then fell to the ground. The victim was able to run away, but Rainey chased after her because his cellphone was in a bag the victim was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag again, and they both fell to the ground again. Neither party suffered visible injuries from the encounter. Multiple witnesses confirmed the incident.

"The investigation revealed that Rainey and the female victim have been in a dating relationship for approximately nine months. Rainey was ultimately arrested by the Gainesville Police Department and charged with one count of Simple Battery (Dating Violence.) Rainey was transported to the Alachua County Jail for booking."

Rainey also was arrested for domestic violence in September of 2010 when he sent a text message to another girlfriend that read, "Time to Die ..." He was charged with third-degree aggravated felony stalking and received six months probation.

Coach Urban Meyer immediately dismissed Rainey from the team, but the next month reinstated him.

Pittsburgh selected Rainey, a native of Lakeland, in the fifth round in last April's draft. He finished with 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 14 receptions for 60 yards. Rainey also averaged 26.5 yards on 39 kickoff returns.

During four seasons at Florida, Rainey had 2,464 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 69 catches for 795 yards and six scores. He also holds the career record with four blocked kicks.

Email Edgar Thompson at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com. Read the Swamp Things blog at www.orlandosentinel.com/swampthings. Follow our UF coverage on Twitter @osgators.