With fellow Baltimore Ravens rookie running back Bernard Pierce sidelined with a hamstring injury for last Thursday's preseason opener, undrafted rookie Bobby Rainey took advantage of the opportunity.
Still considered a candidate for the backup running job, Rainey rushed for 36 yards on 12 attempts against the Atlanta Falcons. Rainey added 28 receiving yards, including one catch that went 18 yards for a touchdown.
If those stats aren't good enough, Rainey also added 76 yards in the return game, for a total of 140 all-purpose yards against Atlanta. Not too shabby for an undrafted player from Western Kentucky, which isn't exactly a football powerhouse.
At Western Kentucky, Rainey was the star of the offense. In 2010, he rushed for 1,649 yards and 15 touchdowns. To follow that up, Rainey ran for 1,695 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011. While he was playing against lower-level FBS football teams, his stats are still impressive.
And to add to his impressive career at Western Kentucky, Rainey rushed for 85 yards against the SEC champion LSU Tigers last season.
Rice, of course, is a lock to make the team, and Allen and Berry were on the team last year. Competing against two incumbents and a third-round pick for a roster spot seems like a daunting task for the 5'8" rookie.
But no task has ever been too big for Rainey.
Playing high school in Georgia, he wasn't offered a scholarship from either the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech. Not getting a scholarship to a big-time school in his home state would get to most players, but Rainey didn't let it get to him.
He still excelled at Western Kentucky, and now he has a chance to make an impact in the NFL with the Ravens.
While it's still a long shot that Rainey will win the backup running back job, he certainly deserves a spot on the final roster. For a guy as versatile and talented as Rainey, he has too much potential for the Ravens to pass up.