Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Steelers' Chris Rainey: Speed Kills

With all the thunderstorms the Pittsburgh and Latrobe areas have been getting lately, another loud "boom" wouldn't seem to be welcomed. This wasn't loud thunder, though. It was the sonic boom created by Chris Rainey's sound barrier-breaking speed. 

Rainey, the running back/return man/slot receiver out of Florida, is flat-out fast! As was put by ESPN's David Todd on his personal Twitter account: "@hammerspeaks: Rainey takes a handoff and buzzes around right end. Lots of "Whoas"." Fast. 

Rainey is so fast that he was disappointed at being clocked at 4.37 in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Combine.-

You see, his personal best in the 40 is rumored to be 4.24. At the University of Florida's training facility, they have their own Combine-like drills and competitions. His best official time there was the time stated above. Not only that, but he believes he can do even better than that. Rainey’s goal before the Combine? A sub-4.2 in the 40. 

As has been well publicized by now, Rainey had a connection to the Steelers before he was ever drafted. Rainey and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey know each other very well, as Rainey lived with Maurkice and his twin brother Mike, who plays center for the Miami Dolphins, during high school. They all moved to Gainesville and played together at Florida. Now, Rainey is on his "dream team."

“I always watch [the NFL Draft] with [Maurkice],” Rainey said in the post-Draft teleconference with Pittsburgh reporters. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. This is my dream team.…They are Super Bowl contenders, they win games, and they are good in every phase of the game, special teams, defense, offense, everything.”

Rainey said he can play running back, slot and special teams. “Wherever they want me, because I’m a playmaker all around.” His speed and quickness led him to 2,464 rushing yards with a 6.22 average and 13 touchdowns, and caught 69 passes for 795 yards and six touchdowns in college.

The only drawback the "Ferrari" has is his smallish size. He's listed at 5'8" and ain't a bit more than 180 pounds soakin' wet and carryin' a brick. His being undersized shows when he tries to pass protect too.

Mike Tomlin pulls him out of the pass protection drills. "I'm not gonna pull my boat with a Ferrari, you know what I mean?" Tomlin recognizes that Rainey would need to cut block in those situations, but it isn't allowed in practice and Tomlin naturally wouldn't want him doing that to teammate anyway.

There will be a lot that Chris Rainey will be able to do on the field. His skills are undeniable and bring to mind the abilities of such players as Lionel "Little Train" James and Darren Sproles. He's lightning quick and has scary speed. And you know that old saying about speed (may Winston Churchill forgive me): Speed kills. Absolute speed kills absolutely.