Extra Points: Rice, Peterson, Bell, Miller

Ray Rice is exhausting his NFL contacts in an effort to secure a chance at reviving his career, Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports.

The embattled running back and his former coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, among others, are making contact with teams in hopes of the 28-year-old runner resuming his once-promising tenure in the league. Werder reported one team was seriously interested in offering a deal to Rice but balked due to the potential backlash after video of his domestic assault on his then-fiancee/now-wife emerged last September.

Money is not motivating the former Pro Bowler here, according to Werder, with Rice having earned in excess of $20MM in his career.

Rice seeks the same second chance his 2014 suspended compatriots Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy have. Of course, those two players have more recent track records of success than Rice, whose position is arguably the easiest non-specialty role to replace. Per Werder, NFL GMs view Rice as a declining player at a young man’s position. His yards per carry, which had hovered above four per tote in each of his first four seasons, dipped to 3.1 in 2013.

Here are some other news items from the league on the final Saturday without eventful NFL action for nearly seven months.

  • Despite staunch holdout threats this offseason before finally agreeing to rejoin the Vikings, Peterson said would have played out the season on his previously nonguaranteed contract, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’m definitely happy,’’ Peterson told media at Vikings training camp in Mankato, Minn. “If (this week’s restructuring didn’t occur), I’d would have just been like, you know what, I’ll just play this year out and not redo the contract. I’m happy to be a Viking.” It’s doubtful the 30-year-old running back iterated that stance to Vikings management, but the team will have its star running back in a more content state this season after he missed almost all of the last. Peterson’s new deal guarantees him $13MM this season and $7MM against injury in 2016.
  • Le’Veon Bell is still awaiting an appeal date for his marijuana-induced suspension, reports Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. The Steelers‘ breakout backfield star is set to miss three games.
  • Ohio State standout Braxton Miller‘s switch to H-back may help his NFL draft status. The top-10 Heisman Trophy finalist in 2012 and 2013 has been playing at his new spot for three months after missing the 2014 season, reports Pete Thamel of SI.com. According to one NFL scout interviewed by CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler, this will enhance the senior’s earning potential come 2016. “We currently have two grades on him, one as an ‘athlete’ and one as a quarterback,” an NFC scout told Brugler. “The grade of him as an athlete is much…better. Because that’s when he’s at his best – with the ball in his hand.
  • Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones isn’t exactly pleased with the progress made by the league this offseason in terms of rectifying the catch process, according to Dallasnews.com. In a lengthy analysis, Jones said there is still “some work to do” on avoiding controversial ruling like the one involving Dez Bryant that essentially eliminated the Cowboys from the playoffs in January.
  • Jameis Winston‘s trial in a sexual battery lawsuit won’t occur until May 2017, according to a Tampa Bay Times report. The alleged incident occurred in December 2012. The Buccaneers‘ No. 1 overall pick was not charged or arrested for this reported incident.
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