If free agent running back Ray Rice is going to return to the NFL, it could be now or never, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Several teams are dealing with injuries in the backfield, and that could open the door for Rice to sign somewhere and see his first action since 2013. Rice has been out of the league since the Ravens released him in September 2014, which came after video of him knocking out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator surfaced. The league also suspended Rice, but he won an appeal that lifted the ban in November 2014. Teams have still stayed away from Rice, who has seemingly cleaned up his act off the field over the past couple years. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month of a “growing sense” that the 29-year-old would get another chance, and Florio observes that it could come soon.
Here’s more from around the NFL:
- The Saints aren’t thrilled with big-money tight end Coby Fleener‘s early season production, writes Christopher Dabe of NOLA.com. Quarterback Drew Brees has targeted Fleener 12 times in two games, but the former Colt has caught just three passes for 35 yards. “I think there’s been moments and yet it hasn’t been as consistent as we’d like yet,” head coach Sean Payton said Monday. Fleener, 27, combined for 183 receptions and 17 touchdowns over his first four seasons, leading the Saints to sign him to a five-year, $36MM deal in free agency.
- Broncos right tackle Donald Stephenson suffered a calf injury that should keep him out 2-3 weeks, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Fortunately for Denver, he did not suffer a tear, as some initially feared.
- The Bills worked out a pair of free agents, tight end E.J. Bibbs and offensive tackle Laurence Gibson, on Monday, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Of the two, only Bibbs has NFL experience. He signed with the Browns last year as an undrafted free agent from Iowa State and appeared in seven games as a rookie, catching one pass.
Zach Links contributed to this post.