Pittsburgh took Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, but released him in January following an arrest in Florida following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend. It wasn't the first time he ran into legal trouble, but for the Steelers it was the last straw.
For 11 months, Rainey worked out and waited to be signed by another NFL team. Indianapolis (7-3) reached out to him Tuesday and signed him Wednesday.
"Eleven months is a long time so I'm just glad to be back," Rainey said Wednesday.
Rainey is the latest gamble made by the Colts this season. They had previously signed receiver Da'Rick Rogers, who admitted to flunking multiple drug tests in college.
They also have receiver LaVon Brazill, a second-year player they drafted in 2012 who missed four games after violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and tight end Weslye Saunders, who was suspended eight games after violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
There's little doubt the 5-foot-9, 198-pound running back has talent. Coming out of the University of Florida, he was clocked in about 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
And last season, Rainey played in all 16 games, rushing 26 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 60 yards. He also averaged 26.
But the problems have come off the field.
In college, he was reportedly charged with stalking—something the Steelers investigated before taking him.
In Pittsburgh, he reportedly received citations for driving with a suspended license, which was later dismissed, and "defiant trespass" at a casino—and that was before the alleged trouble in Florida.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday that the Colts made their expectations clear before signing Rainey even though it's unclear how long he'll stick around the Colts' locker room.
"We worked him out. We sat him down, spent a lot of time with him, obviously," Pagano said. "We feel like he's learned from his mistakes and they're behind him."
Rainey later acknowledged he has a different attitude about this chance because he spent so much time waiting to get back in the league, even turning down chances to play in the Canadian Football League.
Wednesday's move is Indy's latest attempt to shore up its offense since top receiver Reggie Wayne went out with a season-ending knee injury, and they're hoping this one works out.
Rainey insists he'll make sure it does.
"All I can do is move forward and just stay positive from here," Rainey said. "I know what people read. They don't know me, so the people who know me, they know me. I can't do nothing about it."
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