Running back Chris Rainey signed a four-year, $2.282 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, making him the first former Florida Gators player picked in the 2012 NFL Draft to sign with the team that selected him.
The No. 159 overall pick in the fifth round of the draft, Rainey was chosen later than his talent might have demanded due to concerns about his size (5’8” 180 lbs.) and durability despite proving over his five-year college career that he can be a major playmakers when given the opportunity.
Pittsburgh believes they got a steal with Rainey, who posted the fastest 20-yard shuttle (3.93 seconds), 60-yard shuttle (11.06 seconds) and three-cone drill (6.50 seconds) times at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. He also finished with the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds.
Rainey will likely be a kick returner, special teams performer and offensive specialist (though his official role remains to be determined) for the Steelers, where he joins former Gators teammates center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Marcus Gilbert.
Pittsburgh has selected a Florida player in three-straight and four of the last nine NFL Drafts and could have four former Gators on their team in 2012 should they re-sign injured tackle Max Starks closer to the season.
Rainey received a $181,000 signing bonus as part of his contract along with base salaries of $390,000 (2012), $480,000 (2013), $570,000 (2014) and $660,000 (2015).
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Steelers