We’re still several weeks away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Earlier this summer, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.
Today, we’ll be addressing a report from Ed Werder of ESPN.com, which suggests that running back Ray Rice and some of his supporters – including former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano – have been contacting NFL teams in the hopes of landing Rice a job for training camp.
According to Werder, one club was seriously considering signing Rice, but team ownership “became uncomfortable” late in the process due to public relations concerns. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun passes along a similar report, tweeting that there are teams with interest in Rice, but owners are reluctant to sign off on any deal.
Those P.R. concerns stem from a leaked Atlantic City hotel elevator video that shows Rice hitting his then-fiancée and knocking her unconscious. The recording earned Rice his release from the Ravens, a suspension from the NFL, and so far has cost him a chance to catch on with another team in the league.
While Rice’s actions were appalling, and I can’t blame a team for not wanting to bring him aboard, it’s fair to wonder if the existence of a video in his case has resulted in him being blackballed from the league. Rice isn’t the first NFL player to strike a woman, but with no video evidence in most cases, players have often received second and third chances from NFL teams.
Just this offseason, Greg Hardy was found guilty in a non-jury domestic trial, but after reaching a plea deal, the defensive end signed a lucrative one-year pact with the Cowboys. If there had been a video of the alleged incident involving Hardy, he may not have received that second chance. Of course, in Hardy’s case, it’s worth noting that his performance on the field was still exceptional when we last saw him, which isn’t necessarily true of Rice.
What do you think? Does Rice, who has expressed more remorse than most NFL players involved in domestic incidents, deserve a second chance? Should a club give him an opportunity to try to earn a roster spot? Or is it entirely reasonable for the league’s 32 teams to pass on him, taking into account not only that elevator video, but also his advancing age and declining performance? Weigh in below in the comment section with your thoughts!