Despite uncertain future, Rice putting contract on the back burner

Some NFL players in the final year of their rookie contract might make a scene about their lack of a contract extension or shamelessly self-promote in order to put themselves in a position to earn a hefty deal at the end of the season.

Some NFL players might be concerned about what lies ahead in terms of free agency or their future in the league and as a result, not put their full focus on winning games or making a playoff push.

Ray Rice is not that type of player.

That's why even though Rice's four-year, $3.16 million rookie contract is set to expire after this season, the Pro Bowl running back has his focus elsewhere.

"It's hard to think about it now, and I'm just being honest," Rice said today. "I've had the ability to not even think about it because, No. 1, I respect my teammates and I didn't want to bring my contract, my personal decisions or my personal life in here into this locker room. I have enough respect for my teammates, the organization to keep it that way."

Ray_Rice-flexing-tall.jpgBecause of the short shelf-life of an NFL running back, most only get a shot at one free agent contract. That's why you often see guys hold out or make a fuss about a contract that they feel they've outperformed.

The Titans' Chris Johnson held out this summer and eventually earned a six-year, $55.26 million deal, the richest ever for a running back. Rice, who has recorded over 6,100 total yards from scrimmage and 26 total touchdown in his four years in Baltimore, would not get Johnson-money, but he'd likely be able to secure a deal somewhere near that range.

If the Ravens and Rice's representatives aren't able to come to terms on a multi-year deal, however, the team will place the franchise tag on their star running back, giving him a one-year deal worth the average of the five highest-paid players at his position but little long-term security.

The prospect of playing under the franchise tag is not something that most players embrace, but with the Ravens in position to earn the top seed in the AFC and make a run at a Super Bowl, Rice doesn't seem to care about the business side of things right now.

"We're winning," Rice said. "If you love the game enough, you enjoy winning and you appreciate it, and you just live by it. If you take care of the game, the game will take care of you. I'll just let my numbers and everything else pan out, and in the offseason, I'm sure it'll be dealt with."

While Rice is certain to be in a Ravens jersey next season one way or another, the thought of him wearing anything other than purple and black might make Ravens fans nuts.

But rest easy, Charm City. Rice said he has no desire to play elsewhere, and feels that at some point, he'll reach a deal with the Ravens to keep him in Baltimore for years to come.

"I don't think I'll be going anywhere," Rice said. "That I can almost (assure). There's (no reason) that I would be anywhere else. I love it here and I think the city, the team and the organization, they all feel the same way."

blog comments powered by Disqus