Gerry: Steelers have nobody to blame but themselves for Rainey, Ta'amu


Here’s a simple solution for the Steelers and other NFL teams to avoid problems with players who embarrass the franchise with off-the-field incidents that ultimately result in their dismissal.

Don’t draft them, especially when you know they have a proven track record of misdeeds or offenses.

And the Steelers are as guilty as any other team of ignoring their history.

Three of the rookies they drafted this year – Rainey, tackle Mike Adams and nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu -- had legal problems of varying degree in college.

Rainey had a felony stalking charge against him in 2010 when he sent a threatening text to a woman, telling her, “Time to die.” His arrest this morning in Florida on charges of simple battery for slapping his girlfriend should not come as a shock.

Ta’amu was charged with driving under the influence in October 2011 for an incident that occurred in December, 2009, when Ta'amu was playing for the University of Washington. Perhaps it should not have been a surprise, then, when Ta’amu was charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor offenses in October stemming from a police chase while he was driving drunk through the South Side. That forced the Steelers to suspend him for two weeks without pay.

And Adams, their No. 2 choice, tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine in February, then lied about it to various NFL teams and scouts.

The Steelers knew about all three past offenses when they drafted the players.

That means they knowingly built one-third of their 2012 draft class with players who had previous legal problems before they became Steelers. Now, I don’t have to be on the dean’s list at Carnegie Mellon to know that greatly increases the odds of having an embarrassing episode with a player. And the Steelers have already had two of them in four months.

The Steelers have nobody but themselves to blame for drafting a player with less an impeccable character and having that player become another black eye for the franchise.

To their credit, they quickly released Rainey, their kick returner and specialty running back.

But there is a way to stop that.

Stop drafting them.