With the start of the offseason workout program less than two weeks away, the Ravens apparently shouldn’t be expecting their Pro Bowl running back to surface in Owings Mills.
Ray Rice is not expected to report for offseason workouts without a new contract, according to a Scout.com report on Tuesday afternoon. The running back is not required to attend any organized team activities since he is not under contract.
He remained upbeat about his future with the team last season and during preliminary negotiations earlier this offseason before the Ravens placed the franchise tag on him in early March. The former Rutgers standout is scheduled to make $7.7 million under the franchise tender if the two sides are unable to reach a long-term agreement by July 15.
The 25-year-old was in New York City representing the Ravens as Nike revealed the NFL’s new uniforms for the 2012 season and told the Ravens’ official site he looked forward to attending offseason workouts before Tuesday’s report surfaced.
“If they want to get a deal done, we’ll get a deal done,” Rice said to the team’s official Twitter account.
Recent attempts to reach Rice’s agent Todd France have been unsuccessful.
The news is hardly surprising as countless players around the league who have been issued the franchise tag in the past have skipped OTAs. Should the mid-July deadline pass without a deal being struck, the real question will be whether Rice chooses to report for training camp in late July.
With veteran Ricky Williams having retired in February, the only running backs currently on the roster are 2011 seventh-round pick Anthony Allen and 2011 practice squad member Damien Berry.
Rice led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,068 on his way to being selected to his second Pro Bowl.
“I played out my contract, I outplayed my contract,” Rice told the team’s official site. “Staying patient is key, but I do think I’m due. I’m up for one.”
General manager Ozzie Newsome has stated his desire to sign Rice to a long-term contract on a few occasions despite many pundits suggesting the Ravens should simply allow Rice to play with the franchise tag in 2012. The Ravens have a proven track record of taking care of players who were given the designation after working out long-term contracts with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (2011), linebacker Terrell Suggs (2008 and 2009), and cornerback Chris McAlister (2003 and 2004) over the last decade.