Blowhorns are sounding off at NFL camps all over the country.
Pads are popping. Players are high fiving.
For the first time in his football playing career, former Lakeland Dreadnaught Chris Rainey is not part of any of it. At age 25, when Rainey should be just entering his prime, the former Lakeland Dreadnaught is left wondering if his NFL door has closed shut for good.
If his football resume was used as a reference, how could it be?
He was a three-time state champion in high school, a U.S. Army All-American, and scored 90 touchdowns as a Dreadnaught. At the University of Florida, he was not as dominant but still very productive. He won a national championship in 2008, compiled over 3,000 all-purpose yards, holds the team record for blocked kicks and was voted team MVP in 2011.
Oh by the way, Rainey is also an NCAA champion in the 4 x100-meter relay when he ran with fellow football star Jeff Demps.
Rainey showed plenty of promise in his first year with the Pittsburgh Steelers, averaging 26.5 yards per kickoff return. But as is the case with fifth round picks, the leash is very short when it comes to off-the-field troubles. In many cases, it is one-and-done...especially with proud franchises like Pittsburgh. Factor in all the bad publicity the New England Patriots have received in light of the Aaron Hernandez murder allegations and it is the worst time to be a football player plagued by off-the-field issues.
The straw that broke the Steelers back was a battery arrest in January, Rainey's second in three years. Chargers resulting from an argument with his current girlfriend were eventually dropped. His prior arrest was in September 2010, when he sent a text perceived as threatening to his previous girlfriend.
Today, Rainey shakes his head and shrugs off both incidents. NFL teams currently are not doing the same.
So the question is, will Chris Rainey get another shot at the NFL? At the time of this interview, Rainey had just completed a visit with the Seattle Seahawks.
Click on the link to watch the interview.