Ray Rice is out there, living the life of an NFL free agent, perhaps sitting by the phone and waiting for an opportunity. The New England Patriots (presumably) haven’t called.
The Patriots have lost running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount for the season, forcing them to sign Steven Jackson and to rely more heavily on both Brandon Bolden and James White. Yet the Pats, like every other team, have steered clear of Rice despite his on-field talent, which Deion Sanders can’t quite understand as New England limps into the playoffs having lost four of its last six games.
Rice, of course, was cut by the Baltimore Ravens in September 2014 after TMZ released a video of the running back knocking out his his then-fiancée (now wife), Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator. He was reinstated by the NFL in November 2014 after appealing an indefinite suspension, but he’s yet to find work, as teams likely are wary of the potential public relations backlash.
There’s no denying Rice’s talent. The three-time Pro Bowl running back, who turns 29 this month, totaled at least 1,100 rushing yards four straight seasons from 2009 through 2012. He compiled more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage during the 2009 and 2011 campaigns.
Sanders, a Hall of Fame cornerback now working as an NFL analyst, likely isn’t blind to the inherent risk that comes with signing Rice. But he’s clearly a supporter of second chances.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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