On Thursday, former Rutgers and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had his third-degree assault charges dismissed after Rice completed a year long pre-trial intervention program. Video surfaced of Rice hitting his then-fiancé (now wife) Janay Palmer in an elevator in an Atlantic City casino in February 2014 and had domestic violence charges placed against him.
Rice’s original two game suspension was bumped up to indefinitely by the NFL, but Rice won the appeal and was reinstated and is a free agent.
Rice last played for the Ravens in 2013, coming off his worst year since his rookie season tallying his lowest yardage total and the lowest yards per carry average of his career according to John Clayton at ESPN.com.
Rice is hoping to get a second chance in a league where second chances are given. Greg Hardy and Michael Vick each got second chances despite their off-field issues, so why not Rice?
The 28-year-old, New Rochelle, N.Y., native has 6,180 rushing yards to his name in six seasons with 43 total touchdowns. The former 2008 second-round selection is a three-time pro bowler and two-time second team All-Pro running back.
With a career 4.3 yards per carry, Rice has gotten it done in the league. He’s a Super Bowl Champion and he deeply apologized for his actions. While teams might shy away from signing Rice for media issues, Rice can be an asset.
Clayton listed the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, and the Oakland Raiders as possible suitors for Ray Rice as training camp gets closer.
1. Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones appears to be content with starting the season with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden running behind the best offensive line in football, but Rice could be an option if something happens to either player (Randle has had his own off-field issues, and McFadden has an extensive injury history). As he’s shown with the additions of Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and La’el Collins, Jones is willing to take some chances on players with behavioral and/or legal issues in their past. The Cowboys are currently considering adding veteran RBs Felix Jones and Ben Tate.
2. Cleveland Browns: The Browns might want to see how their young running backs — second-year pros Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, and 2015 third-rounder Duke Johnson — are performing in the preseason before considering Rice. But if one or more of those guys struggles in camp, Rice might be an option.
3. Oakland Raiders: Raiders ownership might not want to deal with the public relations implications of signing Rice — the same can be said for the other four teams on this list — but this is something of a need position for Oakland. Latavius Murray showed promise last season but isn’t yet a sure thing as an NFL lead back, and former No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson has struggled to a 3.3 yards-per-carry average in his young career.
4. New England Patriots: This one makes football sense, if the Patriots can look past having to deal with another potential off-field distraction. They lost Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in free agency and LeGarrette Blount is suspended for the opener, so they could use depth at the running back position.
5. Indianapolis Colts: This one would only make sense if the Colts wanted to add injury insurance for free-agent pickup Frank Gore; the Colts have been thrilled with adding Gore so far. Head coach Chuck Pagano knows and respects Rice from their time together in Baltimore, so there’s some familiarity here.
Chris is the Rutgers Football beat writer for Double G Sports. He also covers RU Women's Basketball.
Follow on Twitter @ChrisWasky
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