With Vick Ballard expected to miss the season with a torn Achilles, Colts running back Chris Rainey may get more involved in the offense. He says he’ll be ready.
“I can do anything and everything. Wherever they put me, I’m ready for it,” Rainey said. “I’m one of them play-making guys that make you miss. It just makes you smile because you know what you can do in the middle of the field. So just be ready for it when you’re time comes.”
Rainey hasn’t done much so far in his NFL career. He was drafted by the Steelers in 2012 and had just 26 carries for 102 yards as a rookie, and the Steelers cut him when he was arrested shortly after his rookie year ended. Rainey signed with the Colts late last season and played only sparingly as a return man in two games.
But Colts coach Chuck Pagano told a story at training camp about how he’s been a fan of Rainey’s since coaching Rainey’s brother, Rod Smart, the former NFL running back who was best known for wearing “He Hate Me” on the back of his jersey in the XFL. Pagano spent a year as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, and at the beginning of that year, Smart urged Pagano to recruit Rainey.
“When we got Chris a year ago, he had been on a couch for 11 months. I don’t know what he was doing work-wise but he was living on a sofa with his brother, ‘He Hate Me.’ We had ‘He Hate Me’ in Oakland. Great dude. Love him,” Pagano said. “When I was at Oakland and I left Oakland to go back to college in 2007, his brother, ‘He Hate Me’, he said, ‘Coach good luck. I know you’re leaving, but you might want to take a look at this cat,’ and he handed me a DVD. It was of Chris Rainey and he was a senior at Lakeland High School. I’m going back to college, so I go home, packed up the house and it’s me and Tori, my youngest daughter, and we popped it in and watched four plays. She told me, ‘Go get that guy, that guy can play.’ It looked like everyone else was standing still on the tape and that’s what he looks like now. You can see the athleticism, the burst, the speed. He puts a foot in the ground and gets north and south.”
Pagano wasn’t able to lure Rainey to North Carolina, but Pagano thinks Rainey can help his team now.