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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 18th, 2014
05:52 PM ET

Cardinals cut player with violent history after CNN inquiries

By CNN correspondent Sara Ganim

(CNN) – Just days after the recent Ray Rice scandal broke, the Arizona Cardinals signed a player with a history of domestic abuse arrests, only to fire him today once CNN and other media began asking questions. If he had stayed, he would have been in a good position to replace Jonathan Dwyer, the Cardinals running back who was deactivated after being arrested for domestic abuse.

Chris Rainey has been kicked off three previous teams for bad behavior - twice for domestic abuse-related charges. Each time, he was picked up again by another team.

His troubles started in college, at the University of Florida in 2010, and have continued as he hopped from the Steelers, to the Colts, and finally landed at the Cardinals last week. He's been dismissed from every team he's played on since college.

His first arrest in Gainesville, Florida, in 2010 was for a stalking charge. Police said he sent his girlfriend a text that said, "Time to Die Bitch u and ur???" He pleaded guilty.

The Florida Gators quickly dismissed him but he was reinstated. Eventually, he was drafted by the Steelers. While there, he was arrested twice - once, just outside of Pittsburgh in December 2012, he pleaded guilty to defiant trespass, and then he was again arrested in Gainesville after police said he slapped his girlfriend. He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct, but the Steelers had already dismissed him.

From there, Rainey went to the Indianapolis Colts, and was dismissed in July for an undisclosed team rule violation. Details weren't given.

The Cardinals head coach knew about Rainey’s arrest and past when he signed Rainey. Coach Bruce Arians told AZCentral.com that he had done his due diligence and spoken to two players who knew Rainey in order to vet him. One of those players was Jonathan Dwyer; Dwyer and Rainey played together in 2012 for the Steelers.

When CNN reached out to the Cardinals for comment, they responded by sending a press release about the changes on the team, including the fact that Rainey had been released from the practice squad.

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