Ray Rice’s ‘Window For Playing Is Closing’

The last time Ray Rice appeared in a regular season NFL game, it was December of 2013. Close to three years later, the 29-year-old is still attempting a comeback.

Despite a general lack of interest from around the league, the three-time Pro Bowler recently said that he’s not giving up hope on a return to the NFL. However, Rice did admit that “the window for playing is closing.”

Ray Rice“I’m training, but I’m more training for life,” Rice told James Kratch of NJ.com. “I think it’s safe to say that football … I don’t want to ever say I’m giving up, because that’s never going to be me … I’m happy. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I know if it doesn’t happen this year, it’s probably something I have to deal with. But you know what? It’s not the end of my life.

“I know that the window for playing is closing. But if my window closes, I’m going to make sure I open up a thousand more opportunities for kids, to give them an opportunity to pick up where I left off. That’s where I’m at. I’ve got three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. There’s a lot of people that can’t go out there and do what I did. But I don’t want it to end that way, it’s safe to say.”

As Kratch recalls, Rice was arrested for assaulting his then-fiancee (and current wife) in 2014. A video was released showing the star striking his significant other, and the running back was subsequently released from the Ravens.

The 2008 second-round pick had an impressive run from 2009 through 2012, when he averaged 1,267 rushing yards, 610 receiving yards, and close to 10 touchdowns a season. His 2013 campaign was a bit underwhelming, as the then-26-year-old rushed for 660 yards on 214 carries, resulting in a career-low 3.1 average per attempt.

This 2013 performance could explain why Rice has yet to catch on with an NFL squad. Kratch also mentions the belief that the running back has been “blackballed” by the NFL after commissioner Roger Goodell‘s mishandling of the player’s suspension. Over the past few years, Rice has been connected to a handful of teams, including the Bills and Browns.

In the meantime, Rice is trying to reach as many young athletes as possible. He was recently asked to speak to the Rutgers football team, and he also shared his lessons with the Ravens crop of rookies. While Rice appreciates the opportunity to mentor these athletes, he still hopes to participate in the actual sport.

“I have to let the chips fall,” Rice said. “Everyone wants to know why (he has not gotten a second chance), and I want to know the same [answer]. I feel like if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. It’s not going to be on my terms. It’s going to be by the grace of God and my faith, for an owner to just say, ‘This guy deserves a second chance.’

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’m not naive of anything that happened in my life. I’m definitely going to continue to take full responsibility for it. We do know it was a national controversy. I’m not hiding from it. I owned everything.

“But I know for a fact I can make a team better, I can make a locker room better. And I know 100 percent that I can make a community better.”

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12 comments on “Ray Rice’s ‘Window For Playing Is Closing’

  1. Giants51

    Bills and Browns…… They will go after anyone…..

  2. While I’m not trying to downplay his crime because it was a very serious one, I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten an offer considering his past performance (before 2013) and lack of red flags (outside of his assault, which is a huge red flag). But there are other guys out there with more red flags that keep getting chances/will get chances like Greg Hardy, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel, etc. i think the blackballing thing has to be true because I imagine some team would have at least offered Rice a tryout opportunity, training camp invite, or something by now.

    • dorfmac

      It’s absolutely amazing what this man has done for others and the Baltimore community before his incident and after his incident. If there is anyone who deserves another shot in the NFL, it’s Rice. And Tim Tebow.

    • soxfan1

      Agreed, Goodell made sure this guy would never get a job again

      • marv152

        doubt it, he was awful before the punch. if he could play or a team thought he could…. he’d be playing.

        • dorfmac

          Tough call to say he was awful. The Ravens line was so bad that year that every other RB on the roster had a bad season too. This leads me to think it was more a product of the system/line than necessarily a 26 year old falling off the table completely.

          The following season with an upgraded line, Forsett – a career journeyman – came in for 1200 yards.

          • marv152

            he was the only decent RB on the roster, name one that was any good?

      • It takes an entire league to blackball someone. Goodell is a tool, but if you think he’s managed to keep Rice out of the league, you need to take off your tin hat and get outside in the real world.

        • I mean I’m not saying Goodell alone blackballed Ray Rice…there is obvious blackballing going on by at least some of the teams. But the guy was a top 5 RB at one point and only really had one really bad year (that just so happened to precede his assault). As @TJECK109 said below, there have been more people (with worse red flags) that have gotten second chances. It’s just curious to me why a team hasn’t even offered him a tryout opportunity.

  3. TJECK109

    There are so many that got second chances in the NFL that even saying Goodell made sure he wouldn’t get a shot is a joke. Hardy, Little, Stallworth, Vick, Ray Lewis(he was there), and the list goes on and on and on. 2 of those guys actually killed people and got another chance.

  4. 0428April

    I have to believe it is more performance related. Mike Tyson is as popular as ever. Marv Albert, Tito Ortiz, Chris Brown and Greg Hardy moved forward with their careers.

  5. 0428April

    I am a “people over animals” guy but some might think what Michael Vick did was worse than what Ray Rice did. And Vick was accepted back into the NFL. Yeah, has to be performance related.

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