When Bobby Rainey started the 2013 NFL season with the Cleveland Browns, he was never really able to break through as the go-to guy in their rushing attack. Over his six games with Cleveland, Rainey amassed just 13 total carries for only 34 yards behind Trent Richardson and Willis McGahee before being sent to waivers.
Rainey was then claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off of waivers after Doug Martin’s injury. Then, when rookie Mike James also went down with injury, Rainey finally got the opportunity to prove that he’s worth his salt. He’s done more than that since getting the bulk of the workload in Tampa.
While he played backup to James in week 10, he still racked up 45 yards on eight carries and a score in that game. In his five games where he’s touched the ball for the Bucs, he’s been fantastic. On 95 carries, Rainey has 433 yards on 95 carries with 18 of those carries going for first downs and four of them going for scores. His 4.6 yards per carry average is certainly another testament to his work.
The offensive line in Tampa has been solid as of late which has certainly aided Rainey, but the second-year back that went undrafted in 2012 has been running hard and smart behind this line. He’s been a big part in the Bucs finally being able to grab wins in recent weeks, with the Bucs sitting at 3-1 in his three starts. Sure, he’s had two games with less than 65 yards rushing, but those two games also happened to come against the first and sixth ranked run defenses in the NFL this season.
With Martin and James returning for next season and Rainey’s contract being up, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be going elsewhere this summer. If he can continue to run this well to finish the season, it’s hard to not imagine him getting a nice pay-day to play for a team like the Browns (again) or New York Jets that need some life at the position. He’s been solid, now all he has to do his finish strong to make himself some real money this offseason.