“No one has told me anything about Shayne’s situation,” Rayner said. “I’d be lying if I said I hope he signs back. I wouldn’t have signed here if I didn’t think there was a chance he was leaving. But the guy has had a great career here and if anyone deserves to get a look at a big contract, it’s him.”
You can’t knock Rayner for making the call in Cincinnati. At 27 he knows it’s time to put down roots after a journeyman’s career that began out of Michigan State in the sixth round of the 2005 draft when the Colts took him to be the kickoff man for Mike Vanderjagt and most recently stopped in the 2009 preseason when what he calls “a groin injury” prevented him from taking the Redskins job.
“We’re all looking for it: That kind of situation where you’re in the same place for five, 10 years,” he said. “I think I can do that. It wouldn’t surprise me if Shayne got a big contract and went somewhere for five or 10 more years.”
Rayner, a Michigan native and Big Ten product, likes the fit here. From the people to the elements. When he showed up last Friday at sunny and freshly-plowed but arctic Paul Brown Stadium for his tryout, he might as well have been kicking in Miami Beach.
“I was really comfortabIe when I was there a year ago,” Rayner said, recalling his two-game stint in 2008. “I’m a Midwest guy, blue-collar, and Cincinnati is a great town like that. My whole family is from Michigan and so is my wife’s. Plus, I played with a couple of guys in college who were there and I know that the special teams coach (Darrin Simmons) knows what to do with kickers and punters.”
After his rookie year kicking off for the Colts, Rayner was the kicker for the 8-8 Packers in 2006 and after he made 74 percent of his 35 field-goal tries he moved on to stops in San Diego, Kansas City and Cincinnati before he appeared to land the Redskins job last preseason.
“I would have bet everything I owned that I won that job, but then I hurt my groin and I wouldn’t have signed myself after I got injured like that,” Rayner said. “But then after I healed, it was hard being at home on Sundays watching guys around the league miss kick after kick and my phone wasn’t ringing off the hook.”
“I’m anxious to get in there and see what I can do if I’ve got a full year,” Rayner said. “Right coach, right team, right situation and you have to see what can happen.”
Good for Rayner. If there’s any team that is willing to give a journeyman a chance it’s the Bengals after the disaster that was Graham in the playoffs.