By Edward Lee
5:10 PM EDT, October 3, 2012
Despite his 5-foot-8 frame, easygoing nature and ear-to-ear smile, Ray Rice is widely regarded as one of the toughest players in the NFL. And according to one Kansas City Chiefs player, the Ravens running back is also one of the most talkative.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali said that Rice talks more trash than any other running back he has encountered in the league.
“I don’t remember a lot of running backs talking that much trash,” Hali said during a conference call Wednesday. “Usually, running backs are quiet and get their job done, but he’s one of those guys – he’s a mouthful. [San Diego Chargers quarterback] Philip Rivers talks a lot of trash. Maybe I would compare him to Philip Rivers.”
Hali based much of his assessment on the Ravens’ 30-7 rout of Kansas City in an AFC Wildcard game on Jan. 9, 2011. But Hali emphasized that Rice’s chatter was not malicious.
“I don’t know if it gets him going or if it’s something about him,” Hali said. “It’s good though. It’s not dirty trash, it’s good trash. He’s a good player, and some guys are motivated doing that.”
Informed of Hali’s comments, Rice at first said he didn’t know what the Chiefs player was referring to. But he then acknowledged giving one particular player a lot of lip during that playoff contest.
“I was getting into it with one of their guys back then, but that’s really not me,” Rice said. “I think that’s what he [Hali] saw. I got into it with one of their guys that playoff game because I don’t remember playing them like that. I’ve played Cleveland and Pittsburgh. So for him to say that, I’m just going to put it up to that game. Maybe I’ll go shake his hand and try to be his friend.”
Rice’s contention begs the question which player he is referring to. Of the starters from that contest, defensive end Shaun Smith, defensive tackle Ron Edwards, outside linebacker Mike Vrabel and cornerback Brandon Carr are no longer employed by the Chiefs.
Rice wouldn’t say, but said that the player in question got under his skin with some of his tactics during that game.
“I usually don’t let anybody get to me, but that one guy was playing very dirty,” Rice said. “He was twisting ankles under the pile, spitting, and doing some things. But he’s no longer on the team, and like I said, talking is usually not part of my game. The talking is usually out of good nature. I tell a guy, ‘Good play.’ I have no problem giving respect when respect is due.”
Hali said he doesn’t mind Rice’s gift of gab, but said that he and his teammates could use Rice’s words as motivation.
“He’s carrying the ball, and he definitely makes a difference during the game,” Hali said. “So if he’s going to talk, that’s going to bring the best out of the guys on the field.”
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