Speed is the name of the game on the gridiron. It can alter the complexion of a game in one instance. Its why many love watching football on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or whatever day it’s on these days.
Chris Rainey was and still is a roadrunner which is a task in itself when chasing him on defense. Speed is an important element for him as he is 5’8”, 180 pounds.
Rainey went to the University of Florida as a dual-athlete. During his time in Gainesville, Rainey played both football and ran track. He played in 52 games as a Gator on the gridiron.
Rainey formed quite the duo with fellow speedy back Jeff Demps.
They wreaked havoc out of the backfield and sometimes in the slot, making it hard to key in on one guy. When they weren’t playing on Saturdays, they were bringing the fireworks to the track.
Rainey and Demps were part of the Florida 4×100 relay team that won a championship in 2010. The team featured fellow All-Americans Jeremy Hall and Terrell Wilks as they won the national championship with a record-breaking time of 39.04 seconds. Rainey was able to win three others as well.
In addition to being named an All-American in track, Rainey finished his football career with 3,259 yards from scrimmage, 21 total touchdowns, and seven total blocked kicks, a Gators’ record. He finished his years in Gainesville with a Bachelor’s degree. Not to mention, the former U.S. Army high school All-American was inducted into Lakeland Senior High’s Hall of Fame where he compiled over 7,000 yards and scored ninety touchdowns.
Rainey even won a national championship in football in 2009, giving insight on what made them special.
“We were brothers. A real-LIFE family to the max. We did everything together,” said Rainey as certainly the camaraderie paid off.
The electric back went on to get drafted in 2012 of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Round 5. However, off-the-field events, injuries, and not enough playing time limited his impact in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Arizona.
POOF. Like magic, Rainey’s NFL hopes disappeared. Sure, it probably stung him a bit, but he understood what “the shield” was a business. Rainey became cognizant that front offices aren’t going to keep investing in you when others have already done so only for the move to not pay off.
So, what is he up to these days?
The Former Gator took his talents to a place where ham is recognized as bacon. He went north of the United States to Canada to play in the Canadian Football League. Most players would feel like they are too good for the CFL, but not Rainey.
“Football is football. The only difference in the CFL is a couple of rules and the field is a lot BIGGER,” stated the ex-Gator.
Yes, the CFL’s fields are longer (10 yards more than the NFL) and wider (15 yards more). Another key rule is backs and receivers can be in motion as the ball is snapped.
Rainey has found his niche in Canada with the BC Lions as he was an All-Star in 2016, accumulating nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards. He continues to show his versatility as a runner, pass-catcher, and return man.
Besides playing in the CFL, Rainey has begun to find his purpose outside of the lines as both a father and coach.
“I love spending time with my kids. They are the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Rainey.
On the matter of his off-the-field endeavors, he remarked, “Fortunately, I believe the future holds a lot of things for me after football. Yes, I plan to run camps, be a speed coach and anything else that will allow me to use my abilities to help others.”
Rainey went on to talk about the impact camps can have on the youth.
“Camps are important because they keep kids off the streets and help them chase their dreams. Kids love learning from someone who is living proof and someone who has come from the same type of environment they maybe growing up in,” stated Rainey.
Rainey is enjoying his career as a Lion in the CFL, but he does believe he was ahead of his time on how running backs are used today in the NFL.
“Yes, by a long shot. The people I really heard about (back then) were Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush. That was it. Nowadays, that’s (speedy pass-catching backs) all they’re looking for. I still have what it takes to help any NFL team be a top contender in the league and I would love to return to the NFL soon. Hopefully with God’s favor I will return,” said the former All-SEC back.
For now, Rainey continues to be a father, a family man, and a football player eager to rejoin the NFL.