Will Ray Rice Ever Play Again

Friday, Jul 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET


As I watch the daily scans for our draft rankings come in, I'm always paying attention to the exception reports. One name that continually shows up on that report is Ray Rice, which got me wondering -- will Ray Rice ever play again?

Ray Rice

It was only a few years ago that Ray Rice was a first round pick in most fantasy drafts. His combination of speed and agility made him an elite running back - particularly in PPR formats where he often produced more points out of the backfield than between the tackles. After an odd, yet scary injury in Week 1 of the 2013 season, Rice never managed to regain his previous form. He ended the 2013 season with a career-worst 3.1 yards per carry and managed an embarrassing 660 yards on the ground. He failed to reach 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time since his rookie year. Blame it on Rice or that less-than-desirable offensive line, but based upon where he was drafted in the vast majority of 2013 leagues, Rice disappointed many fantasy owners.

...then came the video. As a fan, and more importantly as a man, even I could not stomach Rice's actions when he brutally assaulted then fiance (now wife) Janay Palmer. Say what you will about the hypocrisy, but it was one thing to hear about it happening and something entirely different actually seeing it on video. It simply made it much more real for everyone. One has to wonder what Adrian Peterson's situation would be like if there was video of him beating his child. In any event, it didn't take long for the league and the Ravens to cut ties with Rice.

Even though he has been re-instated by the NFL, it has been a year and a half since we've watched Rice take the field. As we approach the start of training camps, this could be the last chance for Rice to find a home in the NFL. At the age of 28, he has one last opportunity to make a comeback, but will any team take a chance on him?

With a renewed focus on domestic violence, the scrutiny of the lights could be too much for any NFL front office; however, as with all things in life, time tends to heal all wounds. There is some chatter that Rice could get picked up this preseason (Jacksonville??) if he's still in shape, but chatter alone doesn't automatically equal a second chance. It also doesn't help when guys like Ray McDonald make news with yet another domestic violence incident.

Not a single representative from any NFL team will publicly go on record discussing the potential acquisition of Ray Rice, and even Ray has been awfully quiet on Twitter with his last tweet coming February 12th of last year highlighting an SPCA event in Baltimore where fans could get their dog's photo taken with Ray. The league, team spokesman, and even Ray himself have been mum on his chances of suiting up this year.

Whether it's the unwanted spotlight, questions about his conditioning and playing shape, his poor 2013 production, or any of a dozen different factors, it doesn't appear that Ray Rice is on the short list for any phone calls, nor will he be included in FFN until he actually signs with someone. We all like to believe in second chances, and perhaps it's time to give Ray that second chance, but unless a significant preseason injury opens the door on an NFL team, that doesn't appear to be imminent.

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