Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has already plotted a plan for how he and Bernard Pierce can work in tandem again next season.
"I'll do the slashing and dashing, and Bernard will run them over," Rice said during a recent appearance at Jimmy's Seafood to benefit his charitable foundation.
A smiling Pierce replied quickly: "I'm not slow, though."
And Rice responded: "I'm not saying you are."
Jokes aside, Pierce did operate as a punishing runner for the Ravens during his rookie season.
The third-round draft pick from Temple played with a bruising style in his first season in Baltimore, rushing for 532 yards and a touchdown on 109 carries (4.9 yards per carry). During the postseason, Pierce was even more effective, with 202 yards on 39 carries for a 5.2 average.
Now, Pierce is hoping to become even more productive in his second NFL season.
"I'm looking for the same outcome, just a little better," Pierce said. "I feel like I did good for my first year. Next year, I'm going to try to do a lot better. The stats will speak for themselves at the end of the day."
Pierce said he has recovered from a series of injuries, including a bone bruise in his knee. He didn't have to undergo any offseason surgical procedures.
"I'm feeling good, I feel great," Pierce said. "I put a little bit of weight on. Right now, I'm like 228 pounds."
The Ravens traded up in the third round to acquire Pierce, who does have some breakaway speed despite his penchant for looking to deliver hits instead of just taking them.
That included a 78-yard run in the regular season against the New York Giants when he rushed for a season-high 123 yards, and a 43-yard run against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs when he gained 103 yards.
As the replacement for Ricky Williams after he abruptly retired, Pierce played an important complementary role for the Super Bowl champions.
"Football is a team effort," Pierce said. "I can't take credit. I was a part of it, yes."
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