Several reports this past week have strongly hinted at a possible return to the NFL by former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after his absence since 2013. Rice, 29, struck his now-wife, Janay Palmer at a New Jersey casino in an incident that was captured on tape. The resulting controversy seemingly wiped out Rice’s NFL career, as he was suspended from the NFL and later released from the Ravens. If Rice does make a return, his story could spark mixed feelings across the League.
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
With the NFL already dealing with social fallout concerning national anthem protests, reinserting Rice would certainly create a chorus of varying opinions on whether he should be playing. Rice has been busy the past few years despite being out of the League. He’s appeared as a public speaker against domestic violence and has been sharing his story with numerous football clubs and organizations.
Rice recently spoke to the Florida State Seminoles football team before their season opener on Sept. 5. “The reality of it is I’m not playing football right now not because I’m not good enough but because I made the worst decision in my life,” Rice told the team. “So you guys got to understand that it all came down to decision making.”
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter has been tracking the story and even indicated that Rice may have an opportunity as an NFL spokesman if he doesn’t return to the league as a player. Rice’s image was shredded in the incident, but after close to three years away from the league, it might be time for a return. The ghosts of Rice’s past certainly won’t let him forget what happened on Feb. 15, 2014, but Rice has served his time away from the league well. He was already a model citizen prior to the assault and has remained one since.
Domestic violence continues to be a controversial topic in the NFL, but if there’s any player that could return and flourish it’s Rice. He won’t garner much support if he does attempt to return, but he could change the mindset on domestic violence offenders if he does in fact return. Baltimore is likely not an option, but the NFL always gives second chances and it’s time for Rice to cash in on his.