The Indianapolis Colts Sign Running Back Chris Rainey to Solidify Return Game

Dan Matney@@Dan_MatneyContributor IIINovember 21, 2013

December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey (22) returns a kick-off against the San Diego Chargers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The San Diego Chargers won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Schwane, Associated Press

Due to mounting injuries at the running back position, the Indianapolis Colts made a move on Wednesday, signing free agent Chris Rainey to an undisclosed contract.

The move is moderately surprising as Rainey, who was selected in Round 5 of the 2012 NFL draft out of the University of Florida by the Pittsburgh Steelers, was released in January due to being charged on one count of simple battery.

Rainey played sparingly for the Steelers, receiving most of his playing time on kickoff returns. Rainey had 1.035 kickoff return yards for Pittsburgh last season, and he also added 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

While Rainey likely won’t see much playing time on offense, he brings playmaking ability to the Colts' special teams unit, a unit that has struggled all season. Current return man David Reed has struggled to get anything going this season, averaging just 23.8 yards per return this year. 

While at Florida, Rainey had a career average of nine yards on punt returns and 25 yards on kickoff returns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns while in a Gators uniform. Rainey also played both running back and wide receiver at Florida. The following are his career rushing and receiving stats at Florida.

Chris Rainey College Rushing and Receiving Stats
All-Purpose (Including Return Yards)3948-21

Rainey’s track-star speed is going to be key when he is on the field. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash time at the combine, and he is versatile enough to not only line up in the backfield, but he can also be used as a slot receiver in some receiving sets.

Whether it is this week against the Cardinals or some time later in the season, look for Rainey to be the head return man on both punts and kickoffs for the Colts.