Former Ravens running back Ray Rice wins the appeal of his NFL suspension and is immediately able to sign with a team. The Sun's Childs Walker reports.
There already is a lot of speculation about possible NFL destinations for newly reinstated Ray Rice, but where he ends up is anybody's guess, and what uniform he eventually wears is not particularly important in the greater scheme of things.
We're talking about a guy who hasn't played since training camp and, frankly, hasn't played well since the Ravens won the Super Bowl nearly two years ago. Arbitrator Barbara Jones has ruled he can sign at any time with any team that's willing and weather the likely local backlash, but it seems unlikely he'll play in another NFL game until the 2015 season.
There are playoff-contending teams that could use a healthy and productive Pro Bowl-caliber running back right now – the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins stand out -- but there are only five weeks left in the regular season and there's no way that Rice is in the kind of shape necessary to jump right back into an NFL offense. Presumably, it would take at least a few weeks to assimmilate into a new NFL system, so an interested team would have to weigh Rice's baggage against his likely contribution in a very short timeframe.
He'll eventually land somewhere, but what he makes of that opportunity is less important than what he makes of his marriage and family life. By all accounts, he is remorseful for the ugly incident in that Atlantic City elevator and has taken the required steps to improve his relationship with his wife, Janay, and reduce the possibility of further domestic violence.
If Rice can also make good on his promise to use this terrible experience to help other young men avoid the same fate, he'll become a story of great personal redemption regardless of his professional future. If that combines with a stirring comeback on the football field, all the better, regardless of the color of his jersey.