What a difference a year makes. Last year Ray Rice saw limited playing time as a rookie runner for the Baltimore Ravens. Now, there is little disputing that the Ravens have a special player in Rice.Since the Ravens drafted Rice in the 2008 NFL draft, he has showed a lot of promise here in Baltimore. Rice is unique running back with his knack of being around the ball and his ability run and catch.
Rice went through some tough times during his childhood. When Rice was only a year old, his father was killed in a drive-by shooting. Ray’s uncle helped to raise him before dying in a car accident in 1998 due to a drunk driver. Ray’s mother Janet raised her four children with only one income from her job as a special education teacher. Going through something like this is very tragic for any child to go through, but Rice took very well and continued to pursue what he was born to do and that is to play football.
In his days at Rutgers, Rice had a very good career with many record breaking runs and games making him one of the greatest running back’s to play for the Scarlet Knights. Some of his feats that he accomplished while playing for Rutgers include setting the all time program record in rushing touchdowns and he set the record for most yards in a single game which he broke when he had 280-yards in the International Bowl, he won the MVP for his performance in that game.
Standing at 5-foot-8 inches tall, his height was a factor that made a lot of teams think twice about drafting. The Ravens didn’t care about that factor and drafted him. With his career in the NFL beginning in 2008. Rice had a pretty good year one in the NFL making some great catch’s and run’s.
Rice made his first start in his first NFL game in week 1 of the 2008 season versus the Bengals. Rice had a team-high 22 carries which was good for 64 yards, only having a fumble. Rice had three receptions for 19 yards, in the Ravens 17-10 win over the Bengals. His best game that year was in week 9 versus the Cleveland Browns, in that game Rice ran for 154-yards on 21 carries.
Rice finished his rookie year with 454 rushing yards on 107 carries and he also had 273 receiving yards on 33 receptions. In my opinion Rice had a really good year one in the NFL.
He made so much of an impression that the Ravens coaching staff chose him over Willis McGahee to get the starting job for the 2009 season.
After playing two games in the 2009 season, Rice got his first career rushing touchdown. So far with a couple of 100-yard games, with some great runs for touchdowns, and a few good catch’s that went the distance.
He got his first touchdown reception in week 5 versus the Bengals. His best game so far in the 2009 season came in week 6 versus the Minnesota Vikings. In that game Rice led the Ravens in both rushing and receiving yards, he rushed for 77-yards on 10 carries, scoring 2 touchdowns, and he also caught 10 passes for 117-yards. To me that was one of the greatest performances by a Ravens running back since Jamal Lewis ran for 295-yards versus the Browns.
The Ravens have used Rice in many different ways making him the main part of their offense. Everytime time Rice gets the ball in his hands he can take it all the way with his ability to break tackles, his speed, and his ferocious stiff arm.
With Rice being 5-foot-8, it makes him low to the ground and hard for the opposing team to see him behind the Ravens offensive line. When Rice takes the field every Sunday, you know that he is going to have an big impact in whether the Ravens offense will have a big game. To me Rice is one of the most all-around running backs in the NFL today. The Ravens made a very good choice of choosing to draft Rice in the 2008 NFL draft.
You will see Rice for many years in Baltimore, and you will be pleased with his abililty to make the big play. Through the years the Ravens were looking for a player with this type of ability on offense and they finally got their wish when they drafted Ray Rice.
Ray Rice in Action
Ryan Heller covers the Baltimore Ravens for Baltimore Sports Then and Now. You can also follow his work at Ryan’s Sports World.