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Steelers select Chris Rainey in fifth round

Posted Apr 28, 2012

2012 NFL Draft - Steelers Fifth Round Selection

CHRIS RAINEY

Tailback/Wide Receiver/Return Specialist

University of Florida Gators

5:08.3-178

Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland High School

5th Round – 159th Overall

 

CAREER NOTES
Rainey started 19-of-52 games at Florida – six as a slot receiver and thirteen at tailback…Ranks ninth in school history with 2,464 yards rushing, carrying the ball 396 times for a 6.22-yard average with 13 touchdowns…Caught 69 passes for 795 yards (11.52 ypc) and six scores…Totaled 128 points and 21 touchdowns, as he also returned 26 punts for 235 yards (9.04 ypc) with two scores and tallied 454 yards on 18 kickoff returns (25.22 avg)…Set the school and Southeastern Conference career-record with six blocked punts, surpassing the previous Gators mark of four by Tim Paulk (1987-91), Sam McCorkle (1992-95) and Carlos Dunlap (2007-09)…Collected 3,948 all-purpose yards, an average of 75.92 yards per game…Became the first Florida player to record a rushing, receiving & return touchdown in a single game, accomplishing that feat vs. Florida Atlantic in the 2011 season opener…His 76-yard run from scrimmage vs. Charleston Southern in 2009 and 75-yarder vs. Arkansas in 2008 rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on the school’s longest carries record chart…His 83-yard reception vs. Tennessee in 2011 was the fifth-longest catch in Florida annals.


2011 SEASON

Rainey switched from jersey number three to one for his final season…Started ten of the 12 games he appeared in…In addition two changing jersey numbers, Rainey returned to the tailback spot, as he led the team with a career-high 861 yards on 171 carries (5.04 ypc), scoring twice on the ground…Also led the Gators with a career-best 31 receptions for 381 yards (12.29 ypc) and two more scores…Returned 12 punts for 106 yards (8.83 avg) and one touchdown, adding 103 yards on four kickoff returns (25.75 avg)…For the third consecutive season, he blocked two punts – one each vs. Tennessee and Ohio State…Had a team-high 1,451 all-purpose yards, ranking third in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 120.92 yards per game…Rainey placed fifth in the SEC in rushing, with a 71.75-yard per game average…Teamed with Jeff Demps to give the Gators a combined seven 100-yard rushing performances, third-best in the conference during the 2011 campaign…Became the first Florida player to produce a touchdown on a running play (14 yards), reception (14 yards) and punt return (22-yarder on a blocked kick), as he totaled 79 yards on 11 carries, 67 yards on six receptions in a 41-3 season opener rout of Florida Atlantic…Became the first Gator since 2003 to reel off three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, beginning with 16 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown vs. Alabama- Birmingham, followed by 108 yards on 21 tries to go with an 83-yard scoring grab and three punt returns for 21 yards vs. Tennessee…Added 15 rushes for 105 yards vs. Kentucky…Tallied 132 yards on 17 attempts and 32 yards on three receptions vs. South Carolina, his first appearance since spraining his right ankle vs. Georgia…Closed out his career with 16 carries for 71 yards, three catches for 31 yards and a 31-yard punt return in a 24-17 decision over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.


2010 SEASON

Rainey appeared in eight games, starting six contests…Played wide receiver primarily, but shifted back to running back at times to aid UF’s injury-depleted running back group, ranking second on the squad with 51 carries for 366 yards (7.18 ypc) and two scores…Fourth on the team with 25 receptions for 216 yards (8.64 ypc) and three more touchdowns…Scored in five of the eight games in which he played in, as he also gained 67 yards on nine punt returns (7.44 avg) and 162 yards on seven kickoff returns (23.14 avg)…Blocked two punts- both coming in the Vanderbilt clash…His best performance came vs. Georgia, picking up 84 yards with a touchdown on 16 carries, 9 yards on two catches and 148 yards on six kickoff returns…Rushed six times for 87 yards and a 16-yard touchdown vs. Appalachian State…Had six rushes (66 yards), three receptions (18) and two punt returns (9) vs. Penn State in the Outback Bowl, contributing 93 all-purpose yards, including a season-long 51-yard rush…Had 98 all-purpose yards vs. Florida State, recording 11 carries for 73 yards and four receptions for 25 yards.


2009 SEASON

Rainey appeared in all 14 games, starting at tailback vs. Kentucky, Louisiana state and Arkansas…Ranked third on the team with 89 carries for 575 yards (6.46 ypc) and five touchdowns…Collected ten passes for 161 yards and a score, adding 40 yards on four punt returns, 144 yards on five kickoff returns (28.8 avg) and 920 all-purpose yards, an average of 65.71 yards per game…Blocked two punts – one each vs. Kentucky and Mississippi State…At MSU, he rushed for 90 yards on 12 carries and scored on an 8-yard scamper, surpassing the 1,000 career rushing yard mark in the win over the Bulldogs, in addition to blocking a key punt in UF’s win…Blocked another punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown at Kentucky…Had a stellar outing vs. Florida State, rushing eight times for 73 yards, including a 45-yard run that helped lead UF to its second score, a field goal, vs. the Seminoles…Had an exceptional, showing in the Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati, with 224 all-purpose yards, including 27 rushing yards on four tries, a career-high 71 receiving yards on four grabs and 116 kick return yards on four attempts, adding 10 yards on two punt returns.


2008 SEASON

Played in all 14 games during his redshirt freshman season, tallying 84 rushes for 652 yards (7.76 ypc), including four touchdowns…A Southeastern Conference All-Freshman selection, he also garnered Freshman All-American honors from College Football News…Also made three catches for 37 yards and fielded a short kickoff for 6 yards…Was one of five Gators to record at least one 100-yards rushing game in 2008…Scored his first career touchdown vs. Hawaii on a 33-yard run, the sixth-longest by any freshman in the first week of 2008 college football games…Recovered his first fumble recovery as a member of the punt-block special teams’ unit vs. Kentucky…Rushed for 103 yards vs. Arkansas, along with a season-long 75-yarder…Teammate Jeff Demps rushed for over a 100 yards vs. the Razorbacks and the duo marked the first time since 1997 that two Gator running backs rushed for 100 or more yards in the same game…Named the SEC Freshman of the Week after his performance vs. The Citadel, where he rushed for 142 yards on seven carries and scored one touchdown…Rainey, a sprinter, earned All-American status when he led off the Gators’ third-place 4x100 relay at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.


2007 SEASON

Rainey appeared in four games with one rush for 10 yards, one punt return for 22 yards and one kickoff return of 39 yards… Rushed 10 yards vs. Tennessee to set up the Gators’ final touchdown of the game…Also returned one punt for a total of 22 yards in his first collegiate appearance vs. Western Kentucky to set up a Florida touchdown.


HIGH SCHOOL

Rainey attended Lakeland (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Bill Castle…Was high school and college teammates with Steelers Center Maurkice Pouncey and Dolphins Center Mike Pouncey…The standout running back helped lead the team to its 45th-consecutive victory, third-straight Class 5A state championship and back-to-back USA Today national championships…Rated fourth among all-purpose backs and 17th among Florida’s Top-100 by Scout.com and also rated 34th on the ESPN150 list of top prospects…Chosen as a U.S. Army All-American during his senior year, when he broke the school record with 32 touchdowns and 2,478 yards rushing…Of those 32 scores, fifteen were of runs of 50 yards or more…Established another school mark with 326 yards in a single game and was the first player at Lakeland to rush for over 2,000 yards in a campaign…Named an all-state Offensive Player by the Florida Sports Writers Association, all-county by the Lakeland Ledger, in addition to garnering the Ledger’s 2006 Offensive Player of the Year Award…Ended his senior year with career totals of more than 7,000 yards and 90 touchdowns.


PERSONAL

Humanities and Letters major…Born 3/02/88 in Lakeland, Florida…Younger brother of former XFL star and NFL player Rod Smart…Place third in the 4x100 relay at the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Meet…Earned All-America honors in track.



* AUDIO: Chris Rainey Conference Call


CHRIS RAINEY

Tailback/Wide Receiver/Return Specialist

5th Round – 159th Overall

 

Are you watching this with Maurkice Pouncey?
Yeah, I always watch it with him. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. This is my dream team.


Why are they your dream team?

Because they are Super Bowl contenders, they win games, and they are good in every phase of the game, special teams, defense, offense, everything.


How do you think you fit in with this team?

I fit perfect; special teams, offense, whatever it is I have to do.


What kind of role did they tell you that they would like you to fill?

I can play running back. I can play slot. I can play special teams. Wherever they want me, because I’m a playmaker all around. I fell that I fit perfect with the offense.


Re: On six blocked punts in your career:

Hopefully I can beat that record in the NFL.


How fast are you?

The way that I feel is that I’m a 4.1, but I didn’t show that at the combine, but I can show that on the field.


Do you think that you will be the fastest player on this team?

Well, Mike Wallace is pretty fast, but I’m still confident in my skills so I’d say that I’m the fastest.


Were you the guy that your brother was referring to with the ‘He Hate Me’ on his jersey?

He is the only person that I can’t beat in a race in my family.


You don’t actually hate him do you?

No, I don’t.


Are any injuries an issue going forward into the NFL?

I only had one injury and that was in high school. I had shoulder surgery and have been fine since then.


How close are you with the Pouncey’s, and did you live with them?

I lived with them all throughout high school. I am real close with them, but Maurkice is the one that I always had fights with because he is the aggressive one.


Did you think the Steelers were going to draft you?

I was hoping, but you never know what happens in the draft. I watched an E-60 about the draft and all of these players waiting. They all just waited patiently and there was something waiting for them in the end.


Were the Steelers one of the teams that you had talked to?

I talked to them, but I didn’t have a clue who was going to pick me though.


Are you a running back or a wide receiver first?

I love running back.


Re: Fighting with Maurkice:

He is a big guy, but that’s how you get tough.


What kind of lesson did you learn from the texting incident?

I became a better man, I matured. I learned a lesson not to do that ever again. It’s something I know that I won’t ever do again. I didn’t even know that you could get in trouble over a text. Plus, I wouldn’t harm a fly.


Did that hurt you in the draft?

I think so. I just have to prove my point, and prove myself to show people that I’m a good dude. That is all I can do right now.


* VIDEO: Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley on Chris Rainey


Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley on Chris Rainey

Todd Haley: Good afternoon everyone, we’re talking about Chris Rainey, University of Florida, running back, special teams and a returner.  Chris is a guy that we’re real excited to bring into the mix.  I think he is a very versatile player that is obviously fast and explosive.  He can catch the ball, he can run with it and he can return it.  That’s a commodity and we’re really excited to bring him aboard and work with him and put him into the mix.


Are there any similarities between Chris Rainey and Dexter McCluster?

I think it’s easy to lump guys like that together, but that’s what he is.  He is a situational player when it comes to offense.  It might be third down, it might be by package, you might see him as a receiver or as a running back, but you’ll see him do a little bit of everything.  Obviously as we get to know him a little better we’ll be able to iron it out to exactly what his role will be.  We’re excited about getting an explosive, fast player with some of those skills in the building.


Were you looking to duplicate the power and speed combination that you had in Kansas City?

I think we’re following our philosophy.  The Steelers’ philosophy of how you draft players.  You’re finding the best available guy at that time without worrying a whole bunch about needs and stuff like that.  Offensively, and that’s what I’m concerned with, there’s a guy sitting there and he can do a lot of different things.  Whether you say change of pace, situational or third down, but he’s also a guy that if he’s in that running back room he’s going to have to be able to play running back and get the ball handed to him.  We felt he had a lot of those skills.


Will he be participating in punt returns and kickoffs?

That is more special teams, but I think he is capable of both.  The punt return is probably what we are excited about as much as anything else.


Do you prefer your starting wide receivers to maybe not return punts as much?
When you talk about guys that aren’t 6’ 4”, 220 pounds and are tough guys, sometimes they are their own worst enemy.  They aren’t going to shy away from any contact and things like that.  We as coaches, have to look out for some of those guys and make sure they are around for the long haul because it’s a long season.


Could he be an every-down back?

I don’t know, I don’t want to put a ceiling on anybody.  I’m excited about some of the skills I spoke of because they are unique.  He is a guy that can come out of the backfield and put pressure on the defense that creates match up issues for linebackers and safeties.  As long as the defense sees him as a capable running back then that’s the way he will generally be treated.


How do you feel about the draft picks on the offensive side?

I think everybody’s excited, and I’m one of them. We have three potential difference-makers that are going to come in and compete with an already good group and that’s always a good thing. I’m excited about the young players that we’re going to see this next weekend, and it’s a fun time of year.


Any updates on Rashard Mendenhall’s recovery?  What are your thoughts on the other backs on the roster
?
I stay out of that, but I know Rashard’s here working and has got his mind set on being back and contributing.  When that’s occurring, that’s usually a good thing.


Did they run Chris Rainey between the tackles at Florida?

If you watch all the tape, you’ll see him down on the goal line. They are handing inside runs on the goal line to him against big-time competition. You don’t want to put a ceiling on a guy, but at the same time you’ve got to understand he’s not a 220-230-pound back.


Did you come into the draft trying to upgrade the offensive line?

I think you go through the process and from our side of the ball, we’re saying, “Where do we want to improve and create competition?” You can never be good enough up front.  That’s where it starts.  I don’t think that’s just coach talk. I think if you have a good front five or the better you are up front, the more you can dominate the line of scrimmage, and when you win at the line of scrimmage, then good things can happen for you offensively.


Will you draft a fullback in the seventh round?

I want whatever makes the team better.  As you get to this part of the draft, it gets a little wild. If there’s somebody there that we feel can help us, then I’ll be up on the table.


Will you give them the playbook this or next weekend?

Next weekend they will get indoctrinated pretty good. The guys that traveled in, they got a pretty good look at what’s going on.


Did you give the veterans the playbook yet?

No, we are kind of starting that this week.

CHRIS RAINEY

Tailback/Wide Receiver/Return Specialist

5th Round – 159th Overall

 

Are you watching this with Maurkice Pouncey?

Yeah, I always watch it with him. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. This is my dream team.

 

Why are they your dream team?

Because they are Super Bowl contenders, they win games, and they are good in every phase of the game, special teams, defense, offense, everything.

 

How do you think you fit in with this team?

I fit perfect; special teams, offense, whatever it is I have to do.

 

What kind of role did they tell you that they would like you to fill?

I can play running back. I can play slot. I can play special teams. Wherever they want me, because I’m a playmaker all around. I fell that I fit perfect with the offense.

 

Re: On six blocked punts in your career:

Hopefully I can beat that record in the NFL.

 

How fast are you?

The way that I feel is that I’m a 4.1, but I didn’t show that at the combine, but I can show that on the field.

 

Do you think that you will be the fastest player on this team?

Well, Mike Wallace is pretty fast, but I’m still confident in my skills so I’d say that I’m the fastest.

 

Were you the guy that your brother was referring to with the ‘He Hate Me’ on his jersey?

He is the only person that I can’t beat in a race in my family.

 

You don’t actually hate him do you?

No, I don’t.

 

Are any injuries an issue going forward into the NFL?

I only had one injury and that was in high school. I had shoulder surgery and have been fine since then.

 

How close are you with the Pouncey’s, and did you live with them?

I lived with them all throughout high school. I am real close with them, but Maurkice is the one that I always had fights with because he is the aggressive one.

 

Did you think the Steelers were going to draft you?

I was hoping, but you never know what happens in the draft. I watched an E-60 about the draft and all of these players waiting. They all just waited patiently and there was something waiting for them in the end.

 

Were the Steelers one of the teams that you had talked to?

I talked to them, but I didn’t have a clue who was going to pick me though.

 

Are you a running back or a wide receiver first?

I love running back.

 

Re: Fighting with Maurkice:

He is a big guy, but that’s how you get tough.

 

What kind of lesson did you learn from the texting incident?

I became a better man, I matured. I learned a lesson not to do that ever again. It’s something I know that I won’t ever do again. I didn’t even know that you could get in trouble over a text. Plus, I wouldn’t harm a fly.

 

Did that hurt you in the draft?

I think so. I just have to prove my point, and prove myself to show people that I’m a good dude. That is all I can do right now.

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