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Colts Release RB Chris Rainey

The Colts have released running back Chris Rainey for what was reportedly a violation of team rules.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a strange roster move this morning, the Colts released running back Chris Rainey.  Well, strange until the reports, first from ESPN's Adam Schefter, that Rainey was not released based on his on-field performance but because he violated team rules.

When Colts head coach Chuck Pagano spoke to the media on Saturday, he had very high praise for Rainey and his performance:

"You watch him right now, because you know when we got Chris a year ago, he had been on a couch for 11 months. I don't know what he was doing work-wise but he was living on a sofa with his brother, ‘He Hate Me'. We had ‘He Hate Me' in Oakland. Great dude. Love him. It wasn't surprising to me coming in getting thrust into the action that he did. You've got to play football. It's like coming to camp. You can run, lift, train and do everything all summer long, all offseason long, but until you put the helmet and shoulder pads on and go through this grind, it takes a while to get in football shape. So now being in the program, a year back in the weight room, he's light years, he looks like the old Chris Rainey. When I was at Oakland and I left Oakland to go back to college in 2007, his brother, ‘He Hate Me', he said, ‘Coach good luck. I know you're leaving, but you might want to take a look at this cat,' and he handed me a DVD. It was of Chris Rainey and he was a senior at Lakeland High School. I'm going back to college, so I go home, packed up the house and it's me and Tori, my youngest daughter, and we popped it in and watched four plays. She told me, ‘Go get that guy, that guy can play.' It looked like everyone else was standing still on the tape and that's what he looks like now. You can see the athleticism, the burst, the speed. He puts a foot in the ground and gets north and south. To answer your question, long story short, he's going to help us in the return game and that's going to give him a chance to make this team."

Chris Rainey also talked on Saturday about how he could help the Colts:

"I can do anything and everything. Wherever they put me, I'm ready for it... I'm one of them play-making guys that make you miss. It just makes you smile because you know what you can do in the middle of the field. So just be ready for it when you're time comes."

With how thin the Colts already were at running back and with how much Pagano was praising Rainey a few days ago, the release seemed very strange at first, but that's explained by the reports of Rainey violating team rules.  But it leaves the Colts even thinner at the position now.  Vick Ballard, of course, is out for the year with a torn Achilles, and Trent Richardson has missed all but one day of practice in camp, while Ahmad Bradshaw is being limited as he's returning from a season-ending injury a year ago.  After those guys, the Colts have Dan Herron and Zurlon Tipton, and I'd look for both of them to make a push for a spot.  Finally, they have Davin Meggett, who the team signed yesterday and who looks like not much more than a camp body.

Rainey has had off-the-field troubles in the past, between getting arrested while at Florida and then another arrest while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers that led to his release.  We don't know what it was that Rainey did to violate the Colts team rules, but he has had off-the-field issues in the past.

Rainey was having a good camp and was in a great position to have a chance to make the roster after Vick Ballard went down, and the Colts head coach clearly liked what he saw too.  But every team has rules, and since it sounds like Rainey violated them, the Colts released the back.  There has been no corresponding roster move yet, and it also sounds like Ballard will be heading to IR soon, clearing up another spot.