When he takes the field against Baltimore on Sunday, former Ravens running back Bobby Rainey won’t be looking for revenge against the team that cut him after his rookie season. He’ll be looking for some friends.
Rainey, the Bucs’ leading rusher with 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving), has nothing but fond memories of the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky.
“For one, we won a Super Bowl my rookie year,” Rainey said. “Other guys – Pro Bowlers and Hall of Fame guys have never been to a Super Bowl. I got to experience that in my first year in the league. I learned a lot that year with the business side of the NFL.”
Rainey didn’t play in the Super Bowl, as he was on injured reserve during his rookie season, but he credits head coach John Harbaugh for making him go to all of the position meetings to grow as a football player while he rehabbed his injured knee.
“The details of the game and learning the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and zoning in on the small details of what they do,” Rainey said. “It was fun to experience something with those guys. Not just being on that team, but friendships – lifelong friendships. It was great.”
One of those friendships that Rainey forged was with Ray Rice, the former Ravens running back and fallen star, who is suspended for the league indefinitely for assaulting his wife in an elevator during the offseason, knocking her unconscious with a punch.
“Ray Rice was one of the guys,” Rainey said. “The same way Ray Lewis brought him in under his wing, that’s the way Ray [Rice] did with me. Ed Reed and those guys talked to me a lot. I had a lot of support with those guys and I still keep in contact with those guys.
“There was a time when [Rice] really needed a friend when all that was happening with him. I’m still keeping in contact with him and basically uplifting him with his situation. We all make mistakes, period. No one is perfect. I try to encourage him when we do talk.”
Aside from Rice’s support during his rookie season, Rainey said that proving himself against the vaunted Ravens defense in practice gave him the confidence he needed in himself as a young NFL player.
“It wasn’t easy, but it was challenging and I love challenges,” Rainey said. “It was fun. I thought the Ravens were the top defense in the NFL period. So to go up against those guys and make a few plays against those guys really builds your confidence up. If you can do those things against them, you can do it against anybody in the league.”
Although the Ravens are without legends like Lewis and Reed from their Super Bowl team in 2012, their defense is still formidable, and ranks third in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 16 points per game.
“I still look at it like it’s Baltimore’s defense even though they don’t have those key guys to impact it,” Rainey said. “At the same time, they are still the Ravens defense and they are in the NFL, so you can’t take anyone for granted.
“I’ve got the upper hand because I know the things they like to do from being on the other side.”
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Well I hope his inside information helps him to bounce it to the outside, as he will run into a hornets nest in the middle. The Ravens have seen the tape and know what we do on first down, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon, or a brain scientist to know that and to stop it…
Good story Pewter Report. Ravens have a good defense, but if we put pressure on Flacco this is another game we can win. I’m up beat this, team is getting better. Go Bucs!
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Rainey can give us better info on the Ravens than Smith can give the Ravens on us because of new personnel and systems we now have that we didn’t when Smith was a Panther. Horse is right about us getting better.
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