Rainey, an undrafted running back out of Western Kentucky, had impressed the coaching staff enough to bring him on board after a stellar preseason in which he had 163 receiving yards and 55 yards rushing.
But on Sept. 10, 11 days after deciding to keep Rainey, the Ravens had a change of heart and released him. Rainey was devastated.
He signed with the Ravens' practice squad after clearing waivers, but with cornerback Lardarius Webb (left ACL) going on injured reserve, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome gave Rainey the call he'd been waiting for. He was back on the team.
"I'm coming back in with a chip on my shoulder," Rainey said. "Once I was up and I felt great about that. Then I went down and that was a terrible feeling. It's a whole different perspective of how this league is. Even though I heard it when I was coming into the league, it's different when you actually have to experience it. You get a different perspective."
For Rainey, who turned 25 on Tuesday, being back on the active roster was a nice birthday gift. Rainey said his role would be as a third-down back and that he'd play various positions on special teams. He's primarily a return specialist but said he has practiced at other spots.
Rainey also said that he had received interest from teams around the league while he was on the practice squad. Ultimately, Rainey decided to stick it out with Baltimore. So far, the decision has paid off.
"I told [the Ravens] I didn't want to go anywhere," Rainey said. "But it's hard to go through the process and then come out knowing you have options to go somewhere else. It was a difficult situation."
Another practice squad player, linebacker Josh Bynes, received word that he was being brought up to the 53-man roster Wednesday. Bynes is taking Ray Lewis' roster spot after Lewis went on the injured reserve-designated to return list.
Bynes spent most of 2011 on the practice squad but was called up to the 53-man roster briefly when Lewis missed four games with a turf toe injury. Bynes saw time against San Francisco a season ago, a game the Ravens won 16-6.
"It feels good, it's just the same as it was last year," Bynes said. "It's a good honor but of course everyone wants to be on the 53. It'll be great to be up for this game."
Though Lewis is the emotional leader of Baltimore's defense, Bynes said the linebacking unit has enough confidence in one another to make up for the loss. The younger linebackers that figure to see more playing time will need to work on stopping the run this week against Houston, especially after giving up 227 rushing yards to Dallas.
"We can't think about our leader being down," Bynes said. "We still have to go out and execute. I think we'll do a really good job because we've been in the same position before and we did well."