Name: Wali Rashid Rainer
College: Virginia (Major: City Planning)
Hometown: Rockingham, NC
Personal: Married (wife Brandi) and resides in Charlotte, NC
The Skinny: Not the fastest linebacker (timed 4.89 in the 40-yard dash entering the league), but does a solid job in pass coverage and wraps up the ball carrier extremely well. Rainer isn't going to surprise anyone with a blind side blitz, but shows discipline and command when in the middle. Rarely misses tackles.
Action Photos (Click to Enlarge):
Very community-friendly athlete. Rainer takes additional time out of his schedule to visit Children's hospitals and support fundraisers within local communities. "I get a real joy out of it," Rainer once said regarding his volunteer work. "I just try to give back to the community to show how much I appreciate the opportunities I've been given." ... Rainer entered the league as former Lions' linebacker Chris Spielman's understudy. Spielman spent alot of time tutoring Rainer, whether it was tackling drills or studying game film. That time was quick to pay off when Spielman was forced to retire from Cleveland that same year due to a neck injury. Rainer became the starting middle linebacker and led the team in tackles. Rainer is best friends with Saints' QB Aaron Brooks and Rams' WR Terrence Wilkins.
HIGH SCHOOL ACCOLADES: All-State Middle linebacker two consecutive years for West Charlotte High (N.C.). Blue Chip Illustrated's All-Regional team his Senior year. Three-time All-Conference selection as well as an Honor Roll student.
COLLEGE ACCOLADES (Virginia):
1998: Football News All-American third-team pick, All-ACC first-team selection, three-time ACC defensive lineman of the week, and recipient of the team exclusive Joe Palumba award (most dedication and enthusiasm). Started every game for the Cavaliers, recording 134 tackles (82 solo) (2nd most in Virginia history), five sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
1997: An All-ACC honorable mention, and won two ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors, starting every game at middle linebacker, collecting 118 tackles (67 solo) and 9 sacks (Most for MLB in Virginia history). Tallied a career-high 21 tackles (15 solo) against Clemson (2nd most in Virginia history).
1995: Made an appearance in every single game during his (true) freshman year, recording 29 tackles (15 solo). Replaced current NFL'er Jamie Sharper against Georgia Tech, tallying a season-high 10 tackles including an interception.
2002: Traded to Jacksonville prior to 2002 season. Immediately became the Jags' starting middle linebacker (14 starts) tallying 74 tackles including 11 against the Jets in November. Rainer, however, was replaced during the 2003 off-season with former Colts' standout linebacker Mike Peterson.
2001: Production dropped off significantly due to nagging ankle injury. Started 13 games, recording just 91 tackles (5th). Led team with 10 tackles in infamous "Detmer Day" on September 23. Defensed one pass during that game that was intercepted (one of seven) by teammate Jamir Miller.
2000: Started every game for Cleveland, and again led the team in tackles with 154. Recorded three games with 15 tackles apeice, including two forced fumbles and first career interception.
1999: Selected in the fourth round (124th overall) by the Cleveland Browns and made an immediate impact. Led team in tackles (191 - 140 solo) for the season after replacing former Lion Chris Spielman (retired) at MLB position. NFL debut witnessed him wreak havoc on the Pittsburgh Steelers, recording 17 tackles (13 solo). Started 15 of 16 games (missed one start due to dime package).