Chip On Bobby Rainey's Shoulder After Rough Patch


Bobby Rainey has another chance to prove he belongs.

The undrafted rookie running back was moved up to the 53-man roster this week, taking the roster spot of cornerback Lardarius Webb when he went on injured reserve. 

This is the second time this year that Rainey has earned his way onto the active roster.  He initially made the 53-man squad out of training camp, but was surprisingly cut the day of the regular-season opener. The Ravens added him to the practice squad two days later, where he spent the first six weeks of the season.

"It's been rough," Rainey said. "I'm coming in with a chip on my shoulder. Again."

Rainey first made the team when he jumped onto the scene during training camp and the preseason. He racked up 218 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns during the preseason, and earned a spot as the third running back behind Ray Rice and fellow rookie Bernard Pierce.

But that was short-lived, as the Ravens decided to re-sign second-year running back Anthony Allen from the practice squad, mostly because of the experience Allen brings to special teams. That left Rainey as the odd man out, giving him a rude awakening about the business of the NFL.

"How the whole situation went down, it was all crazy to me," Rainey said. "It was all so sudden. I never thought it would be that sudden. Even though I know it happens, for it to be so sudden, and with the preseason that I had, I didn't think it would be that sudden. It kind of blew my mind when that happened."

Rainey decided to stay in Baltimore on the practice squad, but had hopes of getting the call back up to an NFL roster. He worked as a scout-team running back in practice, trying to show the coaching staff that he was deserving of another opportunity. 

"It was real hard," Rainey said. "Coach Harbaugh talked to me just about every day, just to try to keep me motivated."

Rainey also leaned on his teammates for support, taking their advice to stay prepared for when another opportunity would come. The running back out of Western Kentucky was confident he would get another chance with the Ravens, and also knew that his performance during the preseason earned him some recognition around the league.

Rainey garnered some recent interest from other teams, but the Ravens made the move to bring him up before another team signed him away from the practice squad.

"I had options, so I basically weighed it out and made my decision. It's a great fit here for me," Rainey said. "The feeling I get here, I know that I've made bonds with a lot of guys here. It's a great feeling here, that I almost feel like I belong in this spot."

The Ravens were glad that he was still available. 

"We feel very fortunate that he was still with us on the practice squad this late in the season," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's a guy we were kind of itching to get up any way."

The exact role that Rainey will play on Sunday is still somewhat up in the air. He worked as a return man during the preseason, so the Ravens could get him into the rotation at kick and punt returner. He's also a dual-threat back similar to Rice, so he will also compete with the other backs for reps in the backfield.

It's unclear if the Ravens will activate him on gamedays, as they have already activated all the other three running backs for every game this season.

The one certainty is that Rainey is itching to get back on the field, and he has a new perspective about the business of pro football.

"My thought process about this league is totally different," Rainey said. "My whole perspective has changed about the league. Now I understand that it is a business and that's how I treat it."

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