Ravens running back Ray Rice has 297 rushing yards and 242 receiving yards through Week 4, meaning he is just barely off the pace of finishing with 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air. Only Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig have ever accomplished that feat, something Rice says he hopes to accomplish one day.
"I would love to do it,” he said in an interview with Yahoo. “In my career, that would be a great thing to do."
Rice topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons, and with Willis McGahee no longer around to cut into his carries, injury is the only thing that will keep the slippery back from the milestone in 2011.
Getting to 1,000 receiving yards, too, will be the challenge for Rice, who is averaging an eye-popping 15.1 yards per catch. He set career highs for receptions (78) and receiving yards (702) in his Pro Bowl 2009 season, and since then opposing defenses have paid a lot more attention to him when he slips out of the backfield.
That being said, Rice, one of the NFL’s most electrifying runners, feels he is slightly underrated by analysts.
"The league is ever-evolving. If you can only run the ball … to me, that's not being a complete player,” Rice told Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner blog. “Some guys are great at it, don't get me wrong -- these guys who rush for 1,700 yards -- but if you can catch and run, the value of a player is more. Look at Marshall Faulk. He's the epitome of a guy who can give you 1,000 yards on the ground, and another 1,000 yards receiving."
(Want to hear Rice talk about the big chip on his shoulder? Check out the Shutdown Corner podcast here.)
Among backs, only Chicago’s Matt Forte and San Diego’s Ryan Mathews have piled up more receiving yards than Rice in 2011. Both are on pace for the thousand-yard double-dip. Rice would fall 32 receiving yards short of 1,000.
He would have to average 63.2 receiving yards per game -- and hold up his end of the bargain with the ground game, too -- to join Faulk and Craig in the dual-threat running backs’ version of the 2,000-yard club. Can he do it?
Your turn: Can Ray Rice get 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a season before he retires?