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Blame Lakeland for Chris Rainey's bum shoulder

Because Lakeland doesn't hate me enough already ... it's the Dreadnaughts' fault Florida running back Chris Rainey's season is over. Rainey will have shoulder surgery soon, Florida coach Urban Meyer told reporters on Sunday. "He had an unstable shoulder when he arrived at Florida," Meyer said.

This is how it happened...

GAINESVILLE -- Guess they don't care much for the kid's future. That was my initial reaction when Lakeland's coaching staff made the decision to leave its star running back, Chris Rainey, in last season's Class 5A state championship despite an obvious shoulder injury.

Rainey Rainey, who finished the game with 276 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns, told reporters after the game that he played the end of the fourth quarter and two overtimes with a dislocated shoulder. I'm no doctor but playing football with a dislocated shoulder doesn't sound like the best idea. You know those injuries you hear about that can't get any worse if the athlete continues to play? Just as long as the player can take the pain, he'll be fine. A dislocated shoulder is not one of those injuries.

Castle3webSo blame Lakeland for Rainey's chronic shoulder problems. And blame Lakeland if Rainey doesn't ever reach his full potential at Florida. Guess that's the price you've got to pay when you want to win three state championships in a row. (As if two wasn't enough.) Of course, Lakeland coach Bill Castle (pictured) isn't paying that price today. He's only reaping the rewards. Was it worth it, Bill? Of course, that's a silly question. Knowing you, I'm sure that question has never even popped into your mind.

How else can you explain allowing a 5-foot-6, 150-pound running back to shoulder the load of your offense for an entire season when you already knew that little guy had a big problem with his shoulder? Rainey had his first shoulder surgery BEFORE his senior season at Lakeland. He missed the spring game and didn't play in a kickoff classic.

Skipping ahead to the 2006 playoffs...

"His shoulder, it kind of turned out on him a little bit, so we had to pop it back in," Castle told the Tampa Tribune after Lakeland's first-round playoff game.

Note to Castle: Sitting Rainey for the rest of the playoffs was the biggest decision you had to make in 2006. And you blew it, pal. You jeopardized a young man's future to win a few stupid high school football games. Rainey, of course, wasn't going to tell his coaches that he couldn't play. No chance. Just about the only thing bigger than Chris Rainey's charismatic personality and infection smile is his love for football. Giving Rainey the choice to either play football or sit out is like asking a magnet to refuse metal.

That's why you're going to shake your head in disbelief at the number of times Rainey carried the ball after he dislocated his shoulder in that first-round contest.

Round 2: Rainey rushed for 256 yards and four touchdowns.

Round 3: Rainey rushed for 140 yards on 20 carries.

Round 4: Rainey rushed for 326 yards on 22 carries.

Round 5: Rainey rushed for 276 yards on 26 carries.

Rainey finished his senior season with 2,439 yards. Too bad he might never carry a football again. Don't scoff. That might turn out to be true. No matter how many times you sew a shoulder back together after a dislocation it's never quite the same and always susceptible to another dislocation. And that's the case for Everyday Joe on the Street. The odds of reinjuring your shoulder probably go up a few MILLION percentage points when you're a running back in the Southeastern Conference.

Is Meyer, like Castle, going to put Rainey in a position to injure his shoulder even more? Don't count on it. Rainey's days of carrying the football are over at Florida. Look for him to make the switch to cornerback next season after he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Rainey met with defensive coaches during the preseason to talk about the switch and, according to Florida assistant Charlie Strong, Rainey even practiced with the defense a few times before the season started.

Moving Rainey to cornerback is in the best interest of both Rainey and Florida.



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No big loss here. Chris simply wasn't ready to contribute this year. Hopefully, he'll be on the ball next fall. (www.GatorAlert.com)

Karma is a *****. Rainey may not have been punished at the HS level for his actions but it looks like he is paying for it now

Joseph Goodman will take any shot he can at the Lakeland Dreadnaughts. He is the same writer who attempted to break the negative story on Rainey prior to the 2006 State Championship Game. He is still grieving that his beloved St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders have never beaten Lakeland in a state championship game.

In one little blog Joe Goodman shows us he is an amateur trying to do a professional's job. He doesn't bother to call Bill Castle then he offers up his own medical theories without ever bothering to call a doctor to verify. A pro would have gotten Castle's side of the story. A pro would have called a doc and found out that it's shoulder separations that are the dangerous thing. Shoulder dislocations can be fixed with simple surgery and the shoulder is better than new. Goodman is a total amateur. Isn't there a girl's soccer league or seniors shuffleboard that the Herald needs covering? You're using an amateur to handle important assignments and this yokel is horrible.

Not long ago the herald used to set the standard for professionalism but now they have talentless hacks like this on the beat. I wonder who Pi$$ed in his cornflakes.

Rudy Baga and Ed Poon:

Back up hot shots. In writing "amateur," do y'all mean one who refuses gifts as a high school athlete? Or maybe y'all are referring to the alternate definition: One who acts in an unprofessional manner, like when I called Bill Castle for a story and had the phone slammed in my face. Or maybe you mean amateur as in how the Polk County Board of Education does business, like when I spoke with several administrators from schools surrounding Lakeland about possible illegal recruiting practices by the Dreadnaughts but no one would go on record for fear of losing their jobs (for doing their jobs correctly).

FYI: Not that it matters, but I actually did not write the story about Chris Rainey allegedly accepting gifts while he played at Lakeland. I was the guy who had to cover the fallout during the week leading up to the state championship. I was also the reporter who wrote a column explaining why Rainey did nothing wrong and should win the state's player of the year award. I voted for Rainey as Florida's Mr. Football.

And if you think two shoulder surgeries in less than three years is OK and allowing an undersized running back to carry the ball about 80 times after he injured his shoulder FOR THE SECOND TIME is OK, then you need to have your brain examined by a PROFESSIONAL.

The bottom line is Chris Rainey was in need of a conscientious father figure his senior year of high school and Lakeland football could have done a better job. If offering these ideas as my opinion based on facts I have witnessed and researched is unprofessional, then I guess I'm guilty.

And don't hate on shuffleboard.


The amateur here is the guy that wrote a story without bothering to get Castle's comments or comments from someone else that would confirm your theories. An amateur writes about shoulder injuries with comments from a doctor to back up the theories. Maybe they pay you a salary at the Herald, but you're an amateur trying to do a professional's job. The Herald used to hire pros that could actually write. Now we get you.

Maybe Castle had good reason to slam the phone down. Didja ever think about that?

Amazingly, the only person that seems to care about this football player is JoGood. Everyone else is just worried about some bull. Someone needed to raise the question and my boi Joe was man enough to do it. Last time I checked, thats what being a journalist all about.

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