With running backs Mike James and Doug Martin both out for the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are testing the limits of “next man up.”
After getting 45 yards rushing and the game-winning score from recently acquired Bobby Rainey in Monday's win against the Miami Dolphins, the concern may not be as big.
“He's got a good feel, and when I say that, it's just he's a good football player,” head coach Greg Schiano said at Wednesday's news conference.
“You go back and look at his history at Western Kentucky; he's their all-time everything. He doesn't lack for confidence — although he's not boisterous or full of himself, he's just ... he knows he can play and he's got a good feel as far as patience and running the football.”
In an exclusive chat with The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, we caught up with the second-year pro.
Q: What got you interested in playing football?
Answer: It's funny you ask that. I was in a lot of sports and I actually got into playing football when I was out in front of an apartment in the street and we were playing two-hand touch. There was a guy working for a furniture company and he saw me catch a ball and said, 'Why you not playing football?'
I said 'I don't know, where to sign up at?' So he showed me where to sign up and the rest is history.
Q: I'm sure a lot of young athletes look up to you, what advice would you give to them?
Answer: Put God first. You can do everything if you put God first. And never let the man tell you that you can't do anything.
Q: What's been the biggest surprise of your football career?
Answer: My rookie year, winning the Super Bowl. I was with the Baltimore Ravens; we won the Super Bowl. So that's the biggest that I know of since I've been playing in the NFL.
Q: If you could have dinner with any person, who would it be?
Answer: Probably my idol, Barry Sanders (formerly of the Detroit Lions). That's my guy, my idol. That's who I try to mimic my game after.
Q: You struggled to get playing time in Cleveland and here you are in Tampa with this big opportunity, how are you looking at it?
Answer: Basically going into it like I've been going into practice — doing my job and doing what I'm supposed to do. It's the same thing I plan on doing in the game — doing my job and know what I'm supposed to do to help the team win.