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Ray Rice excited that Joe Flacco will attend offseason program

Quarterback Joe Flacco's pending $120.6 million contract will trigger another development for the Ravens beyond the New Jersey native now becoming the highest-paid player in the game.

As a result of the Ravens avoiding having to make Flacco their franchise player heading into Monday afternoon's NFL deadline, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player will now be around for the Ravens' offseason program.

That's in contrast to last season when Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice worked out away from team headquarters under NFL collective bargaining agreement rules governing unsigned franchise players.

"Joe sat back and let it handle itself, and it all worked out in the end," Rice told The Baltimore Sun on Sunday during an appearance to benefit his foundation at Jimmy's Seafood in Baltimore. "I'm glad he's done so he can be there in the offseason. Me and him will be there to lead this offense again."

The Ravens reached an agreement with Flacco following a historic postseason where he delivered 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions, including three touchdowns in a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

What's going to be the net effect of Flacco getting paid? Rice quipped that the quarterback will be picking up the tab at a lot of team dinners next season.

"Every week, we're going out to eat," Rice said. "Seriously, I couldn't be more proud of the guy. He's been through a lot of scrutiny. The other quarterbacks can say what they want, but it's a right-now league. Check the playoff stats out -- Joe Flacco is the MVP."

Running back Bernard Pierce said he can't see Flacco changing his blue-collar approach following his big payday.

"Joe earned it, of course, and money won't change people," Pierce said. "I'm certain he'll be the same. It's just nice to see somebody on our team get paid, and that they take care of their own."

awilson@baltsun.com

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