A year ago, Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was working out on his own away from team headquarters while his $40 million maximum value contract that included $24 milliion in guaranteed money and a $15 million signing bonus was being negotiated.
Now that Rice isn't a franchise player like last year, he's been a fixture at offseason conditioning workouts and organized team activities heading into this week's mandatory full-team minicamp.
As Rice, the Ravens' second all-time leading rusher behind Jamal Lewis with 5,517 career yards and 33 touchdowns, works out regularly at the team's training complex, he's hoping to hit the ground running this season.
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"I’ll be honest, it was different this year," said Rice, who rushed for 1,163 yards and nine touchdowns last season while catching 61 passes for 478 yards and one touchdown. "It was different. I’m a guy that my body is my temple. Last year, I didn’t get a chance to be here. I was in shape, but when you have to recover from a Super Bowl, it’s totally different, because then you have appearances. You have different things that you normally don’t have an offseason. But I was able to get a lot of the offseason program in. I only missed one OTA for a family reason.
"I got to do all the OTAs. I’ll be here for mandatory minicamp. I wasn’t playing football at this time last year. That was totally different. I’m picking up right where I left off. It took me about a week and a half into camp to get my football stuff back. Now that I’m actually playing football, when training camp comes, start throwing stuff at me again, I will be able to pick up on it right away.”