A group of eighth-graders warming up for a rec lacrosse game at North Harford High School Monday night spotted an unlikely spectator - Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice - in the crowd Monday night.
While he seems to have been keeping a relatively low profile since his arrest for allegedly assaulting his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in February, Rice didn't shy away from fans at North Harford who wanted a picture with the three-time All-Pro.
Rice, who had appeared at Bel Air High School in October to deliver an anti-bullying message, was at the North Harford Monday evening to watch his niece, who is on one of the Parkville/Loch Raven teams, play the Hawks Midget B team, said Tammy Dudick, who coaches the Jarrettsville Hawks Junior B team.
The Jarrettsville team was warming up when the players spotted Rice.
One of Dudick's daughters, Megan, 12, was on the field playing Rice's niece's team, while her older daughter, Sarah, 13, was warming up for their 7:30 p.m. game. The teams play at the Pylesville school through Jarrettsville/North Harford Recreation Council.
Dudick said she made her players warm up first, but then let them go over to Rice and take pictures with him.
"One girl commented that she was in 'breathing distance' of Ray Rice," Dudick said. "The girls were all giddy and beside themselves, and a few parents, too."
Twelve-year-old Samantha Crone, whose team played Rice's niece's team, was photographed with Rice. Her mom, Nicole Crone, said Samantha was "super excited" to meet Rice.
"[Samantha] thought he was really cool and very nice," Nicole Crone said.
Rice was charged and later indicted for allegedly assaulting Palmer, whom he has since married, at an Atlantic City casino hotel in February.
During a court hearing in Mays Landing, N.J., on May 1, Rice rejected a plea offer that would spare him jail time and instead asked the court to put him in a pre-trial diversion program under which he could eventually clear his record.
He has a court date scheduled in New Jersey on May 29, pending his request to be accepted into the diversion program.
Rice's lawyer, Michael J. Diamondstein, was not available for comment Tuesday.
Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun Media Group contributed to this story.