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Unlike last year, Ray Rice a fixture at offseason workouts

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.

"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.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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