In a recent appearance on 105.7 The Fan, former Broncos running back Terrell Davis suggested that the Ravens were under-utilizing Ray Rice to keep his market value down. Asked about this on Monday, Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason said the physical toll that backs take require teams to “bring in two good backs.”
“I don’t think they’re trying to keep the value of a running back down,” Mason said on “The Norris & Davis Show." “They understand that when you have a back like Ray -- a very good back -- but to give him the ball 25, 30 times a game, it’s a wear and tear on your body. When a running back reaches the age of 27 or 28, they’re considered old and they’re ready to replace you because you’ve got a lot of wear and tear. Ask Terrell Davis. That’s what happened to him and he should know better than anybody.”
Davis, a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, averaged 369 carries a season from 1996-98, including 392 in the 1998 season. He was plagued by injuries the rest of his career and retired at 29.
“It’s detrimental to your health. That’s why teams now bring in two good backs,” Mason said. “I guarantee you Ray Rice, if you asked him honestly, he don’t want to carry the ball 25, 30 times a game because of the pounding that you take as a running back. You’re getting hit on every play.”
Mason said Rice, who has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his three-year career, can still be productive -- and make fantasy football players happy -- with fewer carries. “He doesn’t need 25, 30 carries to get his 100 something yards,” Mason said.
The Ravens are expected to release veteran running back Willis McGahee this offseason, and two-time Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain is an unrestricted free agent. Jalen Parmele is also on the Ravens roster.
“Sometimes he might have to carry 25 or 30 times a game, but every game you just can’t do that to the back,” Mason said. “And a guy that’s been running the football as much as Terrell Davis did, I’ve seen it firsthand with Eddie George, they ran him into the ground literally every day. The guy led the league in carries for like two or three years in a row with over 300 carries every time. And after awhile, it took a toll on him. And he was 6-4, 245 pounds. So you give Ray, who’s about 5-8, 210 to 220 maybe if that, the ball 25 to 30 times a game for 16 games? It is not good. It is not good at all.”