Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rainey seizes moment in spotlight for Bucs

TAMPA — On the eve of the biggest football game of his life, Bobby Rainey got a phone call from his former coach at Western Kentucky. The hot-footed running back, who had been claimed by the Bucs off waivers from the Browns only three weeks earlier, didn't figure to play much on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins.

Maybe Willie Taggart, now in his first year as coach at USF, had a premonition. Or maybe he knew more Rainey days were ahead for Tampa Bay, which had already had three running backs succumb to season-ending injuries.

"I talked to him Sunday and just told him, 'You're on the national stage,' " said Taggart, who coached Rainey at WKU. "I told him what I tell our football team, 'The spotlight does strange thing to some people. Some people show up and show out, and some people hide in the spotlight. You only get one time to make a first impression, Bobby. Make them know your name.' And sure enough, he went out and helped his football team get in the win column."

Rainey, 26, entered Monday's game after starting running back Mike James broke his ankle near the goal line on the first possession of the game when Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe fell across his leg.

Splitting time with Brian Leonard, Rainey scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10:19 left to help the Bucs beat Miami 22-19. His touchdown came one play after he exploded for 31 yards. He finished with 45 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.

When you consider that second-year pro Mike Smith was placed on injured reserve with a torn foot ligament in preseason, the Bucs have lost four tailbacks to injury: Doug Martin, James, Jeff Demps and Smith. The team in September cut Peyton Hillis, who has since filled in for the Giants.

"So it's four tailbacks ago that we're playing right now," Schiano said. "But as I often stand up here and say, nobody cares, right? Who do you got? Put him out there and let's see if he can do it. That's what I talk to our team about.

"Because he certainly showed up big last night and is going to have to show up big the rest of the season."

Rainey got regular-season action this season with Cleveland, rushing for 34 yards on 13 carries in six games. He entered the league with the Ravens in 2012, spending three games on the roster before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rainey was with a Western Kentucky team that lost 22 straight until Taggart helped turn the Hilltoppers around beginning in 2010.

"I know how it feels," Rainey said. "I've been on that side. Coming here and knowing that we are struggling, to get a win and like I experienced, you have to just keep pushing."

Can the Bucs keep pushing the football on the ground after losing four running backs? Schiano says they can.

"I have faith in our offensive line," Schiano said. "And Bobby Rainey showed that he's a good running back, and Brian Leonard is a good running back. It may not be where one guy is getting all the carries or the lion's share of the carries. I think we're going to have to mix it up a little bit. Brian is a 30-year-old running back, even though he hasn't had a ton of carries, he's still 30 years old. You're not going to wear him out. And Bobby, I think, has a certain feel about him. It wasn't too big for him (Monday) night."

45

Yards rushing for Bobby Rainey on Monday against the Dolphins.

34

Rushing yards in Rainey's NFL career before Monday.

1

Touchdown for Rainey against Miami.

0

NFL TDs for Rainey before Monday.

Rainey seizes moment in spotlight for Bucs 11/12/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  3. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you

    Blogs

    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  4. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American

    Blogs

    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  5. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Armwood quarterback Devin Black (7) shakes hands with Plant defensive back Keon King (26) after the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The Hawks beat the Panthers 27-7.