WR Chris Rainey has rejoined the Florida Gators, and will begin practicing with the team. Urban Meyer said Rainey must meet certain conditions before he is fully reinstated. Meyer, via the Palm Beach Post;
"Chris Rainey is working towards being part of our football team again," Meyer said in a statement. "I’m disappointed that he violated a core value of our program, but he continues to pay a price for his actions. Chris will have to meet a set of conditions to become a part of our team again and although he is practicing, he will not play this weekend. The timetable for his return will depend on his ability to follow the guidelines we have laid out for him."
Rainey was arrested Sept. 14 on a felony stalking charge. Rainey infamously told a girlfriend in a text message, "Time to die," after he was unwilling to leave the area around her home. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and will be dropped if he completes a court designated program.
Rainey apologized for his actions.
"I am embarrassed and sorry for my actions and I apologize to everyone that I affected by my behavior," he said. "I’m working towards being a part of the Florida football program again and I realize that representing this University is a privilege. I have spent the last several weeks reflecting on my actions and realized that is not who I want to be."
Rainey has missed four games; Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and LSU. Meyer has not said in what game he will return to the lineup, but he will not play on Saturday against Mississippi State. The suspension would be at least five games. The Gators clearly missed the Lakeland man, as a shuffling of UF's backs and receivers have not produced a desired impact. Football wise, Rainey is needed for the Gators.
Meyer has to use this as an opportunity to control a team that has been undisciplined on and off the field. As a coaching staff, they have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to player actions outside of the football offices. In a year that the Gators will not compete for a national title, Meyer has to do a better job helping his players become productive citizens. It's not all about winning and losing. Besides, the less players in trouble, the better chance the Gators have of winning.