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Wali Rainier is a free agent veteran linebacker and a special teams standout. Wali could be outside the focal lengths of NFL GMs. He had missed all of last year having broken his ankle in training camp and placed on IR by the Texans prior to the beginning of the season.
Rainier offers some versatility having played all of the linebacker positions and has accumulated 66 game starts in 8 years. Primarily a starter MLB and strong side LB in his first 4 years. His strength lies in that he is a very physical player and sure tackler. However he also possesses good zone coverage skills for a linebacker. Just don't ask him to play man to man.
Wali grew up in a very rough neighborhood in North Carolina where gunshots drugs and violence was rampant. His father also taught him where to take out his aggression. When Wali was 8 or 9 years old, his father told him to clobber other people in the one place where assault charges would not be filed: the football field. "It’s one part of life I can take my aggression out, and it’s legal," Wali Rainer says. "That’s all he used to tell me at a young age, and it still sticks with me now."
This is the background that inspired Wali to treat every play as if it were his last. He led his team in tackles in 3 of his first 4 seasons. As a rookie for the Browns he had 136 tackles. The past 3 seasons he has played as a member of a rotation playing linebacker. Very tough and gritty. A big hitter when he steps up to stop the run. Smart and decisive. Compensates for his speed by getting a good jump on the play. Rainier is difficult to block on special teams due in a large part to his characteristic "high speed wiggle" move that enables him to squeeze past blockers.
In an interview with Scout.com's Ed Thompson Rainier disclosed, "I'm one of those guys who loves contact and playing on special teams. I'm going to give 100 percent. When I was on the Lions special teams, I tried to be on every tackle and physically try to punish the ball carrier."
His emotional intensity is infectious to his teammates in the locker room as well as in the field. His character is un-questioned. He earned NFL Man of the Year in 2001. He could be a valuable depth player and a force on special teams. He's Kacyvenski without the Benedict Arnold. Sign him up!