Former Ravens running back Ray Rice seems to understand his NFL playing career is likely over. In the unlikelihood of him getting another chance, Rice has vowed to use it to bring more attention and funds toward dealing with domestic violence.
Rice told USA Today on Wednesday that if a team signed him, he would donate his 2016 game checks to organizations that focus on the education and prevention of domestic violence and supporting survivors and their families.
Rice, who was cut by the Ravens in September 2014 after a video surfaced of him punching his now-wife in the elevator of a New Jersey casino, hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2013.
“Me donating my salary is something that’ll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me,” Rice said. “But I know there’s a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It’s raising awareness.
“People need homes. People need shelter when they’re in a crucial situation. I’ve donated a lot of money to charities, but I had a situation where it was a national crisis. I’m not saying I’d be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it’s something that will show where my heart is. My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way.”
Rice, 29, hasn’t gotten so much as a tryout with an NFL team since he became eligible to play after an NFL-levied suspension. However, he continues to stay in shape and train while hoping for that opportunity.
He also has been very active talking to fellow athletes, including the Ravens’ rookie class, about avoiding the types of mistakes he made.
Rice’s wife, Janay, is pregnant with the couple’s second child.
“All the scrutiny that I’ve got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing,” Rice told USA Today.
Several league officials, including Ravens executives and coaches, have vouched for Rice’s character and expressed hope he gets another opportunity. At this point, however, Rice’s hurdles getting back to the NFL go beyond teams avoiding signing him because they fear the negative publicity.
Rice plays a position where the NFL supply far exceeds the demand. Rice also struggled mightily in his last NFL season, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and fighting physical and conditioning issues.
In six seasons with the Ravens, Rice ran for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, 2011 and 2012.