With Rashard Mendenhall recovering from an Achilles injury, the Steelers have had to play running back by committee. Rookie Chris Rainey is part of that committee and scored his 1st professional touchdown in Cincinnati Sunday during the Steelers 24-17 victory. Now, let’s get to know the rookie a little better.
Who is Chris Rainey?
Born and raised in Lakeland, FL, Rainey was a standout player for the Lakeland High School Dreadnaughts football team. While in high school, Rainey lived with the Pouncey family who’s sons Maurkice and Mike were his high school teammates. During his high school career the Dreadnaughts won 3 straight Florida 5-A State Championships and were named the #1 team in the nation both his junior and senior season. In that senior season, Rainey ran for nearly 2,500 yards while scoring 32 touchdowns. Following his senior season, a year in which he was named all-state and a member of the U.S. Army All-American team, Rainey decided to stay in state and attend the University of Florida.
While at Florida, Rainey was a 2-sport star. He participated in both football and track, winning a national championship in both sports. He was a member of the 4×100 meter relay team which won the national championship during his junior year in 2010. On the football field Rainey accounted over 3,800 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also owns the school record with 4 blocked kicks. Rainey was part of the 2009 BCS Championship team at Florida that beat Oklahoma 24-14 to win the schools second title in 3 years. After the 2011 season, he was named the team M.V.P.
How did he become a Steeler?
Rainey officially became a Pittsburgh Steeler on Saturday April 28, 2012 when the Steelers used their 5th round pick and the 159th overall pick to select Rainey and reunite him with his high school teammate Maurkice Pouncey.
His Career As A Steeler?
Rainey’s NFL career is still young but seems very promising. He scored his first NFL touchdown on an 11 yard run Sunday night in Cincinnati. His touchdown proved to be the winning score in the game. Although Rainey is still trying to become more of a role in the offense, having only 85 yards in 18 touches in 6 games this season, he has been a difference maker on special teams. He ranks 9th in the NFL averaging 28.1 yards per return on kickoffs. That is tied for 1st among rookies in the league. In 4 returns Sunday, he averaged 30.5 yards and had a long return of 41 yards.
Another fun fact about Chris Rainey is that he has a rather famous football player in his family. His older brother is Rod Smart, better known as He Hate Me from his days playing in the XFL.