Tag Archive | "Ray Rice"

An open letter to Ray Rice

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An open letter to Ray Rice

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Drew Forrester

Dear Ray,

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.  I’m pulling for you.  More than anything, I’m pulling for you and your fiancee’ to work your way through this for the benefit of not only yourselves and your future, but that of your daughter.  Nothing is more important than your family.  Make your family a priority, which I’m sure you will, and you’ll do just fine.  Football, for the time being, is very much secondary.

There’s no real need to stress how disappointed we all are with you and your actions in that casino last Saturday morning.  I’m disappointed in you.  The team is disappointed in you.  You, I’m sure, are disappointed in you.  So, that’s the end of the finger-wagging and me telling you how bad of a boy you’ve been.  You know it.

Now, for the rest of the story, as the saying goes.

You’re no doubt embarrassed about what happened last weekend in Atlantic City.  Notwithstanding the very serious legal situation you’re involved in — which trumps football by a long shot — you’re obviously aware of how your actions and involvement in a domestic-violence case can potentially affect the way the Ravens look at you as an employee.

One thing you’re definitely finding out this week — this situation is going to affect how the fans in town look at you as a football player.  You’re going to need some thick skin, my man, a fact I’m sure you’ve discovered if you’ve seen the internet or checked your Twitter account this week.  If you think Baltimore’s tough on you, wait until the fans in Pittsburgh and Cleveland get a hold of you next season.  It’s not going to be pretty.

Speaking of the way Baltimore has turned on you this week, please know this:  Some of that…well, MOST of it, frankly, is due to the fact you’re coming off a bad season on the field and your 2014 salary cap figure is thought by many to be hamstringing the team in their efforts to rebuild and improve.  If you were coming off a rushing season that included 1,600 yards and 12 TD’s, the football community would be more forgiving of your actions last weekend.  Unfortunately, they’ve been wanting your blood since about week six of the recent NFL season and this, now, gives them the opportunity to quench that thirst.

By the way, I wasn’t all that impressed with your work on the field last season, either, but I don’t connect that with your arrest in Atlantic City.  They’re two completely different topics.

So, while you’re probably taking a lot of advice from folks in your family, your “camp” and your circle of friends, let me give you some more to consider.

First, Ray, please don’t let what happened last weekend define you as a person, an athlete and a Baltimore sports representative.  Don’t stop your work with the anti-bullying campaign you’ve been so involved with over the last few years.  The message you’ve been sending is an important one and I know, having been involved in an event or two where you’ve also been in attendance, that young men and women in town need someone like you to stress to them the dangers of youth (and adult) bullying.

You might recall a few years back when I was involved in an event Ben Grubbs was holding and you were there, too, with a bunch of young boys and girls from the Police Athletic League.  I’ve seen a lot of athletes over the years engage with kids but your work that night was magical.  And real.

Don’t stop now.  Keep going, please.  The city needs you.  I know you have other issues — personal and professional — to get straightened out and please do that.  But once you’re back and your life is in balance again, continue that outstanding work you’ve been involved with over the last six years since you came to Baltimore. This community is in dire need of help — like most communities are these days — and people like you who put your heart and soul into it need to do more, not less.

This, now, is a great time for you to lean on God and your faith to help bring you through this and redeem yourself and your character.  There are two people at the Ravens facility you should seek out immediately, because they’ll both help you.  Go see Rod Hairston, the team chaplain, close the door to his office, and simply ask him “How can God help me get through this and make sure what happened in Atlantic City never happens again?”  Rod will give you some answers.  So, too, will God.  Go do the same thing with your head coach, John Harbaugh.  Ask him the same questions you ask Rod.  John’s an insightful man who’s deeply connected to his faith and he’ll give you some great guidance.

And finally, you need to take a deep, serious look at your alcohol use to determine if it’s becoming a problem.  If it is, seek help.  That’s simple.  And, I’m sure, it’s not the easiest thing to do to take that deep of a look at yourself and admit you’ve lost control of your ability to have a drink or two without it adversely affecting your decision making. But you must have that conversation with yourself and, if necessary, a professional with experience in alcohol and drug abuse to determine if you need help.  If you do, get it. No matter what you think, you can’t beat alcohol, if, in fact, you’ve reached the stage of not being able to control it.  Have that tough talk with yourself and move forward.

I wish you all the best in your legal situation and your personal relationship with your fiancee’.  I know you didn’t plan on this happening.  But it did.  Now, you need to deal with it and, as I wrote above, work your ass off to make sure it’s not your defining moment in Baltimore.

I know you’re better than what you showed in Atlantic City last weekend.

Now, please prove me right.

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Rice’s cap ramifications clear despite stormy legal situation

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Rice’s cap ramifications clear despite stormy legal situation

Posted on 20 February 2014 by Luke Jones

The questions keep coming regarding running back Ray Rice and what actions the Ravens can potentially take in response to his troubling legal situation, but the realities are clear in terms of his contract and the salary cap.

At least for now.

This isn’t about debating whether the Ravens should release Rice as you’ve likely already formulated your position on the alleged domestic altercation between him and fiancée Janay Palmer based on what’s known to this point. General manager Ozzie Newsome said earlier this week that Rice remained in the team’s plans for 2014 and while the organization is taking the situation very seriously, there remains no indication that they plan to cut the 27-year-old as of now.

The Ravens have a history of staying the course with players dealing with legal problems, and there’s no reason to believe this incident would be any different despite their obvious concerns and displeasure with their starting running back.

But if more damning evidence surfaces that’s worse than the troubling video released by TMZ on Wednesday and the Ravens would determine they simply cannot proceed with Rice as a member of the organization, the salary cap won’t do them any favors as was discussed at the start of the offseason when his career-worst 3.1 yards per carry average in 2013 appeared to be his biggest problem.

Rice carries an $8.75 million cap number for the 2014 season, which includes a $4 million base salary and a $4.75 million figure that’s the prorated portion of the signing bonus and option bonus paid in the first two years of his contract. The decision to cut Rice would excuse the Ravens from paying his $4 million base salary, but the hit in dead money would be devastating to their cap.

Because Rice’s contract runs through the 2016 season, releasing him now would cause the $14.25 million in prorated bonus hits over the next three years to count entirely against this year’s cap. In other words, instead of counting for $8.75 million against the cap should he remain on the roster, Rice’s exit would eat up an additional $5.5 million in cap space for a total of $14.25 million on the 2014 cap, making him more costly to jettison than to keep.

That proposition does become a little more palatable with Thursday’s news of the 2014 salary cap increasing to $130 million — currently leaving the Ravens with just under $20 million in room — but it would still be a crippling blow for a team needing to address multiple positions this offseason. If they felt they had no choice but to cut Rice, a post-June 1 designation would clear $4 million in cap space (his scheduled base salary) from his current 2014 number of $8.75 million, but those savings wouldn’t arrive until the summer when the offseason is essentially over and would leave a whopping $9.5 million in dead money on the 2015 salary cap.

There’s just no positive outcome to cutting Rice this offseason from a salary-cap standpoint.

Some have posed the idea of the Ravens trying to void his contract due to a morals clause, but that only provides the grounds for cutting a player due to bad behavior, which only means they wouldn’t have to pay his base salary. The ramifications of the signing bonus would remain on the books, which is the more critical piece at work in the discussion.

For context, it’s worth noting that the New England Patriots remain on the hook for a $7.5 million cap hit in 2014 for former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was released by the organization and charged with first-degree murder last June.

The only course of action that could result in the Ravens receiving some financial forgiveness in terms of the signing bonus would be to keep Rice for the 2014 season and await the possibility of him missing games due to jail time or a suspension from the league. Not only would the Ravens receive cap credit for the prorated portion of his base salary that meets the number of games missed, but the organization would have the right to recover a portion of his signing bonus coinciding with the length of the suspension.

Teams have the same option to try to recover bonus money if a player abruptly retires or holds out, which would also qualify as what’s known as a “forfeitable breach,” a term that became commonplace during the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation last summer. The Ravens could have elected to use the same language in trying to recover money from linebacker Terrell Suggs two offseasons ago when he tore his Achilles tendon because of a non-football activity, but they likely elected not to do so because of the long-term fallout it often creates in the working relationship.

These factors point to there being little chance of the Ravens parting ways with Rice this offseason unless what’s already been a troubling story grows uglier in the coming weeks and the organization concludes that it has no choice but to terminate their relationship with the three-time Pro Bowl running back.

For now, the Ravens appears to have few choices but to sit back and hope for the best for all involved parties.


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ESPN’s Van Valkenburg believes Rice’s reputation may never recover

Posted on 19 February 2014 by WNST Audio

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TMZ’s Rosenblum says there are more Rice videos to come

Posted on 19 February 2014 by WNST Audio

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Video of Rice dragging fiancée surfaces, summons states she was knocked unconscious

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Video of Rice dragging fiancée surfaces, summons states she was knocked unconscious

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:05 p.m.)

With an Atlantic City police report stating there was surveillance video of the alleged physical altercation between Ravens running back Ray Rice and his  fiancée, it seemed to only be a matter of time before some footage would surface of the incident that resulted in both being charged with simple assault last weekend.

A video released by TMZ Wednesday morning shows a man the publication claims to be Rice dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator before another man in a suit approaches him and appears to speak into a security microphone.  A few moments later, the man alleged to be Rice appears to walk away from the woman as she regains consciousness.

Rice’s attorney Michael Diamondstein offered the following comments to TMZ in response to the video being released and doesn’t dispute Rice and Janay Palmer being the individuals in the video:

“The video that’s being posted by TMZ Sports is not the complete event, but is merely the end result of what transpired. We’ll assure the public that when this matter is fully tried and completed, you’ll have a better understanding of what happened and we ask the public to reserve making any judgment until all of the facts come out.”

The Atlantic City police revealed Wednesday afternoon that they have referred the case to the county prosecutor’s office “to ensure all appropriate charges are considered.”

The court summons obtained by WJZ-TV and FOX 45 on Wednesday afternoon states that Rice struck her with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.”

Many will draw their own conclusions based on what’s seen on the video, but it’s important to acknowledge that the alleged physical altercation is not shown and the footage doesn’t tell how she lost consciousness. However, there’s no sugarcoating how ugly the aftermath is for the 27-year-old running back after police said both parties struck each other with their hands before what was captured on the video.

A team official had no further comment to WNST.net about the released video as the Ravens continue to stand behind their initial statement regarding the altercation.

Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to Rice on Monday about the incident while general manager Ozzie Newsome had yet to speak to the 2008 second-round pick when he addressed the media to announce a contract extension for linebacker Terrell Suggs on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t know the situation. I’ve only gotten what has been written,” Newsome said. “I’ve not had a chance to talk to Ray; I have not had a chance to talk to [director of security Darren Sanders]. I really don’t know the situation and up until I get all the answers, then that’s when we make decisions within this organization once we get all the information we can get.”

Even if Rice is not convicted of any wrongdoing, he will still be subject to potential league discipline through the personal-conduct policy. In the past, commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t shied away from suspending players who run afoul of the law or simply paint the league in a negative light.

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Newsome says Rice remains in Ravens’ plans for 2014

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Newsome says Rice remains in Ravens’ plans for 2014

Posted on 17 February 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday he had yet to speak to Ray Rice following his weekend arrest in Atlantic City but added that the running back remains in the team’s plans for the 2014 season.

Addressing the media to announce a contract extension with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, Newsome said that he continues to gather information regarding an alleged physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée Janay Parker that led to the pair being arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence. Newsome said that he or head coach John Harbaugh plans to speak to Rice within the next 24 hours.

According to a police statement, Rice and Parker struck each other with their hands and the incident was captured on video surveillance at the Revel Casino.

“When I left my office 20 minutes ago and John had probably been in there 15 minutes before then, Ray Rice was still a big part of what we plan to do in 2014,” Newsome said early Monday afternoon. “I don’t know the situation. I’ve only gotten what has been written. I have not had a chance to talk to Ray, [and] I have not had a chance to talk to [director of security Darren Sanders]. I really don’t know the situation. With me, I get all the answers, then that’s when we make decisions within this organization — once we get all the information we can get.”

Rice and Parker both refused medical treatment on the scene and were released after being given a summons to appear in court.

The seventh-year back is scheduled to make a $4 million base salary and carries an $8.75 million cap number for the 2014 season. However, the Ravens wouldn’t have any flexibility from a cap standpoint should they want to part ways with Rice as the accelerated cap hit would be greater than the space he currently commands this season.

A Ravens team official released the following statement Sunday night after the news had been initially broken:

“We are aware of the Friday night situation with Ray Rice and his fiancée. We have spoken with Ray and know that they returned home together after being detained.”


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Rice reportedly arrested in Atlantic City altercation over weekend

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Rice reportedly arrested in Atlantic City altercation over weekend

Posted on 16 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Ravens running back Ray Rice was reportedly arrested after a physical altercation that took place in an Atlantic City casino over the weekend.

According to a report from The Sun, Rice’s attorney Andrew Alperstein said the three-time Pro Bowl running back and his fiancée were charged and released after both were involved in a “very minor physical altercation” at Revel Casino on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The police report indicates that Rice and Janay Palmer were involved in a domestic dispute recorded on video surveillance in which both parties appeared to strike each other.

Both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence and were released on a summons to appear in court after both refused medical attention. The Ravens released the following statement about the incident on Sunday evening:

“We are aware of the Friday night situation with Ray Rice and his fiancée. We have spoken with Ray and know that they returned home together after being detained.”

Coming off the worst season of his career, Rice rushed for only 660 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in 2013 as he enters the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract signed in July 2012. The 2008 second-round pick carries an $8.75 million salary cap number for 2014, but the amount of accelerated money remaining on his deal makes his release extremely unlikely this offseason.

Based on the few details known at this point, the incident at the very least is an embarrassing occurrence for the 2008 second-round pick who has such a positive reputation for his charitable work in the community as well as his anti-bullying campaign.

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Hip Surgeon Dr. Ochiai says Rice should have full recovery before next season

Posted on 05 February 2014 by WNST Audio

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Harbaugh not ready to anoint Rice ‘the guy’ in 2014

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Harbaugh not ready to anoint Rice ‘the guy’ in 2014

Posted on 02 February 2014 by Luke Jones

The hiring of Gary Kubiak as the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator has been overwhelmingly praised by most experts, but what it means for veteran running back Ray Rice remains to be seen.

Known to prefer bigger backs with better downhill ability in his days with Houston and Denver, Kubiak didn’t go out of his way to single out the three-time Pro Bowl selection with praise at his introductory press conference as Rice will need to rebound from the worst season of his career. The former Texans head coach didn’t say Rice wouldn’t be his feature back, either, but 2014 will clearly be a crossroads in the 2008 second-round pick’s career.

“If they’ll get downhill, we’ll do fine,” said Kubiak when asked to describe what kind of back he prefers in his system. “[They’ve had] some great running backs here that have been very successful. We told John [Harbaugh] we think they fit what we do very well. It’s our job now to go teach our system and get them comfortable with it. But, it always gets back to doing what your players do best. We’ve assured John that’s what we’ve got to do; that’s what we’ve got to go find out.”

Harbaugh made it clear on Friday that he expects to see a lighter Rice after he rushed for just 660 yards and averaged a career-worst 3.1 yards per carry this past season while dealing with the effects of a hip flexor strain suffered in Week 2. Of course, Rice wasn’t the only Baltimore running back to struggle as Bernard Pierce averaged just 2.9 yards per attempt in his second NFL season and underwent rotator cuff surgery earlier this weeek.

Entering the third season of a five-year, $40 million contract signed in 2012, Rice is assured of a roster spot in 2014 because cutting him would be more costly to the salary cap in dead money than it is to keep him, but the 27-year-old will need to prove himself worthy of being the starter like virtually everyone on an offense that finished 29th in the NFL last season.

“I think Ray’s determined to be the best he can ever be, and I know Gary likes Ray,” Harbaugh said in an exclusive interview with WNST.net. “It’s going to be up to all our players. Everybody’s going to have to come in and prove themselves. I’m not going to sit here and anoint anybody ‘the guy.’

“Ray Rice is a heck of a back in this league, but Ray has said — and I totally agree — that he can’t be playing at 216 pounds. He was 207 [pounds], I think, his first year. He’s not gotten fat, [but] he’s gotten thick through all the weightlifting. We’ve got to find a different way to train Ray.”

Rice vowed at the end of the season to come back in the best shape of his life, but it’s difficult to explain how much his poor production can be attributed to health and poor conditioning, the struggles of the offensive line, and even the reality of Father Time as he enters his seventh season at a position where the shelf life generally isn’t very long.

The Rutgers product also carried the ball an incredible 910 times in three seasons for the Scarlet Knights, which is additional wear on his legs that can’t be dismissed when looking at his entire body of work. Rice often dealt with defenders in the backfield as soon as he took the handoff in 2013, but he wasn’t able to show the same overall elusiveness while averaging a career-worst 5.5 yards per reception and ranking 34th in the NFL in yards after contact.

Harbaugh knows Rice has plenty to prove in 2014, but the head coach isn’t doubting the back’s ability if he puts in the work this offseason.

“Was he in the greatest shape of his life? No, he said he wasn’t,” Harbaugh said. “That’s on Ray. You’ve got to come back in the greatest shape of your life every year, especially as you get older. The older you get, the harder you’ve got to work. That’s just the way to keep even and give yourself a chance. Ray knows that. He’s going to have to come back in the greatest shape of his life. If he does that, I would not bet against Ray Rice.”

To listen to the entire interview with Ravens coach John Harbaugh from Radio Row in New York, click HERE.

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Five young players the Ravens need more from in 2014

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Five young players the Ravens need more from in 2014

Posted on 20 January 2014 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens coming off an 8-8 season and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, it’s easy to conclude that the organization needs more from everyone with a vested interest in 2014.

However, with a limited amount of cap space and only so many holes that can be filled through the draft and free agency, the Ravens will lean heavily on a handful of young players already on the roster to emerge and make a difference with another year of experience under their belts.

Here’s a look at five young players the Ravens will need more from in order to bounce back from an underwhelming 2013 campaign:

1. LB Courtney Upshaw

Veteran outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil received the most attention for their second-half slides, but Upshaw did little to establish himself as a force within the Baltimore defense in his second NFL season. The 2012 second-round pick once again battled weight and conditioning issues in the spring and summer before serving as the strong-side outside linebacker in the base defense while Dumervil took his place in passing situations. Upshaw played fewer defensive snaps — down to 650 from 762 a year earlier — with Dumervil’s arrival in 2013, but his tackle total declined from 60 as a rookie to just 30 and he continued to offer little as a pass rusher or in coverage. With Suggs’ future with the organization up in the air and Dumervil recently turning 30, the Ravens need younger players such as Upshaw and 2013 fourth-round pick John Simon to become real factors if the defense is to continue to build on the progress it made this past season.

2. RB Bernard Pierce

If someone had told you before the 2013 campaign that Ray Rice would only rush for 660 yards in a career-worst season, you would have assumed Pierce had taken his job to become the Ravens’ feature back. Instead, the second-year back was even worse in averaging 2.9 yards per carry and gaining just 436 yards for the season. In fairness, both backs dealt with nagging injuries and had an undersized and overmatched offensive line trying to block for them, but it was clear that neither Rice nor Pierce was especially effective in identifying running lanes before they quickly closed shut. Rice will receive more heat going into next season as he enters the third year of his five-year deal signed two summers ago, but Pierce’s underwhelming sophomore campaign has led many to believe the Ravens should be looking for another running back in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2014 draft. Pierce played in all 16 games in his second year, but his durability is still a question mark in terms of handling a bigger workload.

3. DT Brandon Williams

Despite missing the first three games of his rookie season while nursing a toe injury, the 2013 third-round pick appeared to be emerging as a reliable member of the defensive line rotation before winding up inactive in six of the final eight games. Coach John Harbaugh explained that Williams needed some “maturing” and was beaten out by the versatile DeAngelo Tyson for playing time, but it was still disappointing to see the Missouri Southern State product disappear completely in the second half of the season. With Arthur Jones and Terrence Cody good bets to depart via free agency, the Ravens will need Williams to live up to the high expectations they had when he impressed scouts so much at last year’s Senior Bowl. Whether it’s to play Jones’ 3-technique defensive tackle spot or to shift to nose tackle and allow veteran Haloti Ngata more flexibility to move around, the 335-pound Williams is expected to become a consistent contributor along the defensive line in his second season.

4. LB Arthur Brown

The Kansas State product immediately drew comparisons to future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis because he was undersized and very athletic, but Brown only saw 211 defensive snaps in his rookie season, with most of those coming in the nickel package. Listed at 235 pounds but playing lighter than that after being selected in the second round of the draft, Brown showed flashes in pass coverage and as a blitzer, but he must get bigger and stronger to become the three-down linebacker the Ravens envision. With Daryl Smith an unrestricted free agent and Jameel McClain a potential salary cap casualty, Brown is expected to win the Ravens’ weakside inside linebacker job. With so many other positions of need to address and only so many resources, the Ravens need Brown to put in the necessary work in the weight room and to master the defensive playbook to take care of one of the two inside linebacker positions.

5. OL Rick Wagner

It will be interesting to see how the offseason plays out in terms of where Wagner might fit along the offensive line. In a perfect world, the Ravens would probably prefer keeping the 2013 fifth-round pick in a role similar to the one he held last year as an extra tackle-eligible blocker and key reserve, but the sheer number of holes currently on the offensive line might force him into starting duty. As of now, only Marshal Yanda playing right guard appears to be a sure thing with Kelechi Osemele expected to play either left guard or right tackle. The Ravens want to re-sign left tackle Eugene Monroe and add more size to their interior offensive line, but Wagner might be needed to play either left guard or right tackle if they expend resources at center and left tackle. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo worked extensively with Wagner as a rookie, and his 6-foot-6, 310-pound frame and Wisconsin pedigree suggest he has some nice upside, making this offseason an intriguing one in terms of his development.

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