Rice plans to “soak up every moment” at Super Bowl

January 29, 2013 | WNST Staff

RUNNING BACK RAY RICE

 

(on playing in the Super Bowl) “Honestly, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. My first time down at the Super Bowl was my second year in the League. I was down in Miami, and I actually had to do media day. I know this is not media day, but still I get to enjoy all the festivities and at the end of the day, we have to go play a game. I’m going to soak up every moment because this is something that some people only get to do once or twice. Some people get lucky, but not many people get to do this at all, so I’m just blessed to be where I’m at today.”

 

(on the fans’ sendoff in Baltimore) “Today our fans just showed us that they’ve always had our back, but it was raining and cold in Baltimore, and I think the streets were just jam packed flooded. They really just showed us today what it really is all about. They’re just proud of us, and we thank them because they come out there every week – ups, downs, highs and lows – and that’s what we get to look forward to, our fans. That’s who we have to answer to, and we just want to make them happy.”

 

(on running backs’ value in the League) “The running back position all comes with the change, and like I said, I’ve only seen myself as a complete player. You look at both running backs in the game, myself and Frank Gore, and they have a great back-up for him with LaMichael James. I have a great back-up in Bernard Pierce. You just look at the game and how it’s played today, and I think the value is still the same especially after what Adrian Peterson did. There’s no every-down back anymore. Adrian Peterson set the standard for every running back in the League. I see myself as an all-purpose guy, but what he did was amazing.”

 

(on Frank Gore) “He’s just like a bull. He goes downhill on you really fast. I think he’s more loose than people think he is. I have respect for his game because if you watch Frank Gore, he doesn’t take the hits. He actually delivers them because of his low center of gravity. You go ask Ray Lewis who he has respect for in that offense, and obviously he has respect for everybody, but the main person he’ll tell you right now is Frank Gore.”

 

(on Frank Gore’s injuries this season) “You know what, I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to be healthy. I haven’t had those kinds of situations, but to battle through what he’s been through, he’s a warrior – hats off to Frank. I’m always a fan of the running back. We don’t have to hate each other. I like to win on Sunday, and I don’t want to see him do good on our defense, but any other day, I watch him and am happy for him.”

 

(on the running games of both teams) “What’s the famed position in the game? It’s the quarterback position, and we’re not going to shy away from that. Our quarterback is a great quarterback. The 49ers have done a great job this year, and it’s no surprise that you’ve got to run the ball to win the games, but you also have to balance the attack. And one thing we’ve been doing is balancing the attack. It’s not forgotten, the running game, but when you look at the criticism that Joe Flacco has been through and you look at what a young guy like Colin Kaepernick is doing, I would make that the headline too. I’m just being honest because our guys have been through a lot. We’ve been to three AFC Championship games. We’ve been to the playoffs each year, and we just haven’t got the job done, but now we’re here on the big stage, and Joe deserves all that credit.”

 

(on playing in the postseason) “The last few years have definitely helped out. I didn’t know what playoff football was about my rookie year. The second year was good, but after my third season, that’s when I really started to understand what playoff football was about. We started getting guys on the team that hadn’t been to the playoffs and they’ve been in the league 10 years. I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to play in the playoffs five years – three AFC Championships and one Super Bowl. I just can’t even tell you how the experience has been because you grind all season, and everybody was talking about us when we lost a couple games, but we really knew we only needed one. You grind to get into the playoffs. And everybody knows when you get in those games, it’s totally different. You can wipe your schedule out, your yards, wipe everything out to start 0-0 in the playoff schedules. We knew it was two seasons.”

 

(on what will be key in this Super Bowl) “It all comes down to execution, and that’s what it’s going to be all about on Sunday, whatever the team executes, whoever goes out there and plays a more physical game and executes at a high level.”

 

(on if teams mirror each other) “Yes, you look at the structure of the defense, similar to ours. Take the pistol out of their offense, and you look at what they have and who we have on offense. They’ve got two running backs; we’ve got two running backs. They’ve got great receivers, speedy guys, tight ends – look at who we have. They have a big, physical offensive line – look at what we have. It’s just one of those games where I really, genuinely feel that there’s a lot of great teams in the NFL, but the two teams that deserve to play in the Super Bowl are in it.”

 

(on the sendoff in Baltimore) “It was great. I had fun. I thank our fans because it’s cold out there. They don’t have this kind of weather. The only time they feel this kind of weather is if they turn the heater on in their house.”

 

(on playing in the Super Bowl) “It’s been a great journey for me. I just have a lot in my life. I started playing football when I was seven years old. I actually got to watch Ray Lewis win the Super Bowl, and now I get to play with him. I think that’s pretty cool when you put it all in perspective.”

 

(on former Rutgers and current Buccaneers coach, Greg Schiano) “Coach Schiano did a great job. He’s always had my respect as a man, as a father and as a husband. I’ve seen the way not only that he took care of us as his kids, but you see the way he takes care of his family. He’s always about team first, and it reminds me of our coach. One thing about the Baltimore Ravens is that we have the guys that are stars or whatever you want to call them, but no one is bigger than their team, and that’s what makes the Baltimore Ravens special. We’ve got a general, Ray Lewis, that’s going to be a Hall of Famer, and Ray will be the first to tell you that he wants to be there to shine amongst others, and that’s how our team is. Coach Schiano implemented that same kind of format in us.”

 

(on hiring new run game coordinator, Juan Castillo) “Coach Castillo has a great respect amongst this league, and I got phone calls when he came in, and it was like, ‘You’ve got a great coach coming on staff, so your run game is going to get even better.’ I’m like, ‘Well, shoot, I’m all in!’ Every year you look to tweak it a little bit, fine tune it, and Coach Castillo is going to do a great job with us.”

 

(on if Castillo’s hiring was a surprise) “I never really get into the hiring and firing, but one thing I know is that Coach [John] Harbaugh makes a decision for the best of the program and for the situation. We’re not going to bring anybody that’s going to cause a distraction. He’s going to fit right in. We brought him in on the backend, so he can get right to work for next season. He’s probably breaking down film and going over the games. When the offseason comes, he’s going to be ahead of the ball. When we come in next offseason, we’ve got something to work on. Even though you go to the Super Bowl, believe it or not, you’re behind because everyone else stopped working. You’ve got the guys scouting and doing all that stuff, and we’re behind in terms of football right now because we’re still playing. He’s probably going to get a jump on everything to make it better for us during the offseason.”

 

(on firing offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron) “Cameron was a great coordinator, and he’s done a lot for us. Coach Harbaugh made the decision, and when he made that decision it was based on what he felt was best for us. Jim Caldwell has kept it simple for us. One thing that he’s doing is utilizing the weapons we have. We have the talent, but we had a hard time sometimes trying to get everybody the ball, but right now everyone’s touching it and we’re happy. We’ve always said that execution was one of the defenders. We’ve been executing better, and that’s what it’s all about.”

 

(on Joe Flacco) “He’s our leader. I’ve always said that we go if Joe goes, and this year he just took off. He went out there and everyone was talking about the run game, but everybody follows somebody. I follow Joe Flacco. I can’t go out there and throw the ball. I can only go out there and do my job. He’s done it for us, so we go out there and do it for him. One thing I love about Joe’s approach is that he never gets too high or too low, he stays on that even keel. I think in football you have to do that because if you get too high or too low, you find yourself riding the wave, and Joe Flacco never rode the wave this year. When we had bad games, we took it on the chain and got ready for next week.”

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