Colts taking a risk in signing Rainey

INDIANAPOLIS -- Running back Chris Rainey had to quit watching the NFL on television. He was driving himself crazy sitting on his couch watching others play, something that he thought me may never get to do again.

Rainey waited, waited and waited some more for his agent to call and tell him a team was interested.

The 2012 fifth-round pick worked out for the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday and was on the practice field with them Wednesday afternoon after they signed him to a contract.

"Eleven months is a long time," Rainey said about not playing. "I'm just glad to be back."

Rainey comes to Indianapolis with some baggage accrued in his short time in the NFL. It's the type of baggage you think would scare the Colts off.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted Rainey, released him during the offseason after he was accused of slapping his girlfriend. Rainey was also ticketed for driving with a suspended license and given a citation for "defiant trespass" at a racetrack casino last year, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Colts appeared to be setting a standard when they released safety John Boyett after he was arrested at a downtown Indianapolis bar in early September.

But now, the Colts are back to giving players a second chance. They re-signed tight end Weslye Saunders on Oct. 29 after he was suspended eight games for a season violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended the first four games this season for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time. Receiver Da'Rick Rogers had substance abuse violations while in college.

"We sat [Rainey] down, spent a lot of time with him, obviously," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He understands what the expectations are. We feel like he's learned from his mistakes and they're behind him. He understands what it means to wear the horseshoe and [we] fully expect Chris to take advantage of this opportunity."

Rainey said the past humbled him. The Colts hope that's the case because their focus needs to strictly be on getting the highest seed possible for the playoffs.

"I'm moving forward and staying positive," Rainey said. "I know people are going to think something, but they don't know me. People who know me, know me. I can't do [anything] about it."

What Rainey's impact will be on the Colts is yet to be determined. He could be cut next week when linebacker Erik Walden returns from his one-game suspension. He could get his shot returning kicks because David Reed hasn't proved he deserves to keep the job.

Rainey has returned 39 kicks for 1,035 yards, an average of 26.5 yards per return. Reed has 20 returns for 475 yards this season.

"I know I'm a playmaker," Rainey said. "I came to help the team win. Wherever they put me at, I'll be ready."