By: Jordan Wells, WKU Rivals
They spent years together on the Hill, grinding through morning workouts and long practices on the gridiron as teammates at WKU.
Now, they’re both heading to the NFL–as divisional rivals in the AFC North.
Former WKU runningback Bobby Rainey signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent Saturday night, while cornerback Derrius Brooks signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Rainey said he received the official news from Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“Harbaugh asked me, ‘Are you ready to be a Raven?’” Rainey said. “It was such a sigh of relief. I know where I’m going.”
John Harbaugh’s father, Jack, was the head coach at WKU during the 2002 Division 1-AA national championship.
“It’s like a family thing, with me coming up there (to Baltimore) and their (Harbaugh’s) connection to Western,” Rainey said. “I’m ready to get up there and compete for a position.”
Brooks was headed outside for some pickup basketball to help take his mind off everything when he got the phone call from his agent.
“They (Bengals) had been calling me towards the end of the draft,” Brooks said. “I told my agent we’ll take what we can get, and it ended up working out perfectly.”
Rainey said he finds out as soon as Monday or Tuesday on what his new schedule with the Ravens will look like.
“I’m just so excited about everything,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”
The duo said they talked on the phone after signing, encouraging each other on working to make their team’s final NFL roster.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t engage in some friendly trash talk before they meet on the field for the first time as opponents, a Monday Night Football matchup on September 10th.
“I’m not one to trash talk much,” Rainey said. “But if he says something to me—it’s on!”
“I love it,” said Brooks, on possibly playing against Rainey on Monday Night Football. “I’m playing ‘Rain’ man, I love that guy like my brother.”
The game will be featured as the first Monday night matchup of the NFL season, with the Chargers vs. Raiders following after.
Brooks spoke highly of WKU and its coaching staff in regards to preparing for the NFL.
“I love WKU,” Brooks said. “Especially the coaches that came in my last year, they gave us the mindset to get ready for the league–they expected nothing less than that and made us work hard to get there. Coach Taggart is ready to take them to the next level.”
Rainey shared the same sentiment as Brooks.
“My experience at WKU was so great,” Rainey said. “The things I learned from Coach Taggart are the same things they said they’re going to teach me in the NFL. The program is in great hands with him.”
Rainey said he hopes he can get one of his jersey numbers from high school to represent on the Ravens, which could be No. 20, 21, or 22, while Brooks said he’d like 23 but he’s not picky.
“Just put me on the roster man,” Brooks said. “I’ll take any number.”