When it comes to giving back to the Baltimore community and the Ravens fan base, there is absolutely no one better than Ray Rice. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating.
To be blunt – Rice just gets it.
For a parent, what else would you want in a role model for your children? For a football fan, Rice is one of the primary reasons the Ravens will be playing for their second Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans this Sunday.
Without a doubt, that’s a dual threat anyone can be proud of.
With their Pro Bowl trip cancelled due to playing in the Super Bowl, Rice and fullback Vonta Leach were at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Dundalk Sunday, where they were joined by defensive end Art Jones and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.
The Ravens players mingled with 180 guests for two hours, posing for pictures and sharing laughs. After judging a kids contest that turned from pushups to a Ray Rice flex off, Rice grabbed my attention as I walked past his table. He had noticed a variety of playoff shirts being sold at the door and asked me how many people were in attendance. Rice then told me that he wanted to buy a shirt for everyone in attendance on behalf of his teammates.
Towards the end of the night, Rice received a flag from a soldier named Chris who had flown it in Afghanistan and had waited over a year to present it to a player. While people were already cheering for Chris’ service and generosity for the flag, Rice used the moment to raise everyone’s spirits even more by announcing his shirt gift.
That’s right, completely unprompted, Rice saw an opportunity to make a special night even more memorable by giving those in attendance something they had no idea they would receive.
Rice didn’t have to do this. After all the memories he helped make on the evening, people could have left happy even without a shirt. However, Rice once again showed the type of person he was, and 180 people can wear their shirt purchased by Rice while they watch him play on the biggest stage of his career.
This wasn’t done for publicity (he had no idea I was going to write a story about it). It wasn’t done for any other reason than for a man to say thanks to those who have supported him throughout his career. Hopefully next Sunday, Rice will bring another present back for Baltimore – a Lombardi Trophy.