The curiosity about
But down in Bowling Green, Ky., the home of
"Bobby was the offense at Western Kentucky," Jeff Woods, the sports director for WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, told me on Thursday. "The guy was a workhorse. The WKU offense centered around him and he flourished. He left as the school's all-time leading rusher and single-season rushing leader. As I'm sure you know, Rainey also has great hands and can catch out of the backfield and he even threw a touchdown pass his senior year. I knew he was a longshot entering Ravens training camp, but I still can't say I'm that surprised he made the team. He's not the fastest guy and he's undersized, but Rainey just outworks the other guys."
Woods sought me out two weeks ago to chat about Rainey. Down in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky fans were buzzing about Rainey, the first player in a while to make an
"Rainey has generated quite a bit of buzz," Woods explained. "He was and still is a fan favorite and fans are anxious to see what he can do in the NFL. A lot of the support for Bobby comes in the form of Twitter, fans just letting him know they're cheering for him. And I know a few who have also drafted Rainey in their fantasy football leagues. It wouldn't shock me if I see a couple of Ravens jerseys with No. 34 on the back in the not-so-distant future."
Asked about all the love Friday morning, Rainey sheepishly smiled.
“It’s a great feeling, period. We haven’t had that from football in a while, and for them to see me in the NFL, getting here and making the team, it gives them something to talk about. It feels great to know that I have their support, though,” said Rainey, who is generously listed at 5-foot-8 and is a shade shorter than
And being in the "Madden NFL" video game is new for Rainey, too.
"My rating is low. I'm mad at that. But my speed is up there."
Rainey, who rushed for 55 yards on 23 preseason carries and had 14 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns, was one of three undrafted rookie free agents to crack the Ravens’ 53-man roster. He is third on the depth chart behind Rice and 2012 third-round draft pick
He is excited to make his debut against the
“It feels great [to make the team]. It’s a blessing,” Rainey said while defensive tackle
But whatever his role is Monday night, count on a ton of television sets in Western Kentucky being tuned in for for Rainey's debut.