Rainey, a former standout back at Western Kentucky University and Griffin High, has had today’s date circled since the start of the Ravens mini-camp back in May.
“I’m very excited to come home and show out in front of my people,” Rainey said from Ravens training camp in Owings Mill, Md. “I believe about 20-plus people from Griffin will be coming out to see me play. I’m ready to go.”
The Ravens will play the Falcons in the first NFL preseason game of the year tonight at 7:30 p.m. and it will be televised on CBS-TV.
Rainey, #34 for Baltimore, last played in the Georgia Dome as a junior at Griffin on Nov. 25, 2005 in a state semifinal contest against Statesboro High, a 7-0 loss.
Griffin High head football coach Steve DeVoursney, who coached Rainey, will be at the Georgia Dome tonight to see his former back make his NFL debut.
“I had to see Bobby play his first NFL game, especially since it’s at home. It’s a good thing for him and for the Griffin community,” DeVoursney said. “Bobby is the epitome of what hard work will do for an athlete. He’s been told he’s too short to play in high school, too short and slow for a Division I college and the NFL. But he’s going to work hard to prove people wrong.”
The record-setting back at WKU said he anticipates getting a decent amount of playing time tonight. He said the coaches have told him to be prepared to mix in with some of the veterans. Rainey said he is not far behind incumbent starting tailback Ray Rice and he’s second on special teams behind Jacoby Jones, whom the Ravens brought in this year from the Houston Texans.
“I’ve been doing some work with the ‘ones’ at training camp from running the ball to kick returns on special teams,” Rainey said. “The coaches and the veterans like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis have told me to keep doing what I’m doing. I must be doing something good if they’re saying that to me.”
Rainey also said the coaches know he is coming home, so they will try to feature him against the Falcons.
“My special teams coach, Jerry Rosburg, told me that he was going to let me loose against Atlanta,” said Rainey.
Rainey said he’s not really nervous about playing the game tonight — he said he is more excited than stressed.
“Football is my comfort zone; I know the game inside and out,” he said. “I’m ready to let my teammates know how I can play when it comes to game time. They’ve seen me in camp but I want to show them what I can do in a game, especially since they’ve been encouraging me in camp.”
One player really helping smooth things out for Rainey in training camp has been five-year veteran tailback Rice. He said the two of them hang out in camp and Rice has really taken care of him.
“Ray is a mentor to me. He’s given me good advice on and off the field,” Rainey said. “He’s really cool.”