Ray Rice may be a totally different person from the one that we all saw throw a punch at his future wife in an elevator. He may have had just one bad night and had never done anything of the sort before. He may live the rest of his life doing positive things in the community and even be a good person to speak out on domestic violence. That may sound farfetched, but not when you consider how many guilty people have done positive things after getting locked up for various crimes over the years. It’s not an easy thing to imagine former murderers or thieves actually doing good things, but it does happen.
Does this mean Ray Rice will get another chance in the NFL? Not exactly and I would bet the other way. Many folks compare his chances to Mike Vick’s opportunities after the dog fighting fiasco. While that is similar, Vick was just one guy with that issue. Rice was just the tip of the iceberg as more and more players were caught up in abuse cases. Teams are doing all they can to keep players already on their rosters from having incidents like Ray Rice was involved in. These teams certainly don’t want to add a guy that is the face of domestic abuse in the NFL, no matter what he says or does to rehab himself and his public image. Vick was also much more talented than Rice. At one point Vick was the most dangerous player in the NFL. Ray Rice was really good in his prime, but not on the level of a $100 million dollar QB.
If I were Ray Rice, I would downgrade my lifestyle dramatically. Maybe he has saved a great deal of his money he made while in Baltimore. If he’s like many pro athletes that is unlikely however. He had better prepare like he will be making a normal salary in a regular job. He received about $1.5 million from the Ravens through his wrongful termination grievance. That money should be set aside for possible hard times ahead.
Here are five reasons no NFL will touch Rice in 2015. 2016 may be a different story with fans’ memories a bit hazier with 365 more days between them and the original elevator news.
- Justin Forsett. This journeyman filled the void left by Rice when he was let go by Baltimore. Forsett was paid just over $700K for his services on his way to a league leading 5.4 yards per attempt. Forsett showed the league that backs can be interchangeable, not to mention cheap.
- The fact that only two running backs are projected to go in the first round of the draft says it all about teams’ needs. Running backs are just not in high demand. If teams are willing to wait on later rounds to get a rusher, then why would they roll the dice on a player like Rice when they won’t even bother using a first round pick on a back?
- The video is never going away. It is online forevermore. The scene of Janay Rice falling unconscious at the feet of Ray Rice is burned into fans’ minds and available on youtube at the click of a mouse. NFL franchises can’t afford to have something like that attached to their name.
- Most head coaches would buck the thought of a GM wanting to try Rice. The head coach would be the one having to deal with the daily questions about having Ray Rice on the team.
- Running backs can be had cheaply. The position lacks the value of the old days. A free agent can come in on the cheap and without the baggage of TMZ. The NFL is a passing league and becoming more so each season. So now backs are a commodity, plain and simple.