View Full Version : Chris Rainey adds explosive element to Steelers backfield

08-04-2012, 07:24 AM
LATROBE, Pa. -- Friday Night Lights Pittsburgh Steelers-style was a chance for a Latrobe Memorial Stadium crowd of more than 9,000 black-and-gold clad fans to say goodbye to a foursome of former Steelers -- Joey Porter, Willie Parker, Aaron Smith, and Marvel Smith honored in a retirement ceremony before the two-hour night practice.

It was also a chance for rookie running back Chris Rainey, the electric fifth-round pick from the University of Florida to introduce himself as the fastest back the Steelers have had since Parker was turning on the jets, most famously with his 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL, the longest rushing play in Super Bowl history.

Every time Rainey touched the ball Friday night, he hit the hole hard and gained 5 or more yards a carry, one time breaking a 15-yard run as defenders struggled to find the 5-8, 178 scat back with 4.3-40 speed.

Rainey has been the Steelers' buzz guy since he began flashing during organized team activities, and he's carried it over to training camp.

"Chris brings a different dimension to our backfield we really haven't had in recent years,'' team president Art Rooney II said.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley likes his versatile bunch of backs, and Rainey is the most versatile among them. He allows Haley to use him in the screen passing game and as a third-down change-of-pace to power backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.

"Chris Rainey's exceptionally quick and exceptionally fast,'' general manager Kevin Colbert said. "How he'll fit into an NFL offense, we'll find out.''

Asked about a compliment from center Maurkice Pouncey, who said Rainey has some Darren Sproles to his all-around game, Rainey said, "It's a good compliment. But I'm still Chris Rainey. That's all I keep in my head.''

Coach Mike Tomlin is not one to gush about a player until the lights really come on in the preseason and regular season. He's impressed by Rainey but wants to see those flashes continue over time.

"Chris had some nice work tonight,'' Tomlin told USA TODAY Sports. "But it's still early in the process.''

Tomlin said Redman had a setback with a groin injury, which might mean more touches early in the preseason for Dwyer, Baron Batch and Rainey.

The other injury of note was left guard Willie Colon, who converted from right tackle only to suffer an undetermined ankle injury when another player appeared to roll up on his ankle when Colon got into a scuffle with defensive end Cameron Heyward defending an offensive linemate. The injury appeared minor, as Colon walked off the field under his own power with a slight limp.

Tomlin said the medical staff will monitor both players, who could be held out of today's afternoon practice at St. Vincent's College.

08-04-2012, 07:39 AM
I am big on Rainey. I think he will be a solid weapon for us to use in the run game, pass game, and return game. The guy was electic at Florida, hopefully it carries over in Pittsburgh.

08-04-2012, 10:36 AM
Highly electic:chuckle:

Let's just keep on keepin these guys fresh and healthy - the Redman groin worries me a little bit