The rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers is never short of drama both on and off the field and this past Sunday was no different.
Steelers linebacker Lamarr Woodley took offense to a picture of Ravens running back Ray Rice walking into the locker room at Heinz Field with a Terrible Towel draped over his head.
Woodley took to Twitter to warn Rice about disrespecting the Terrible Towel and the Curse of Myron Cope.
Today, Rice met with the media and explained his side of the story.
“I actually asked a fan to trade, I’ve been trading to jerseys with guys after the end of the game, a fan traded me my gloves for the towel,” Rice said as he tried to clear his name. “I didn’t stomp it or do anything wrong, I walked out with it and I think I’m going to save it and put it in my basement to cherish the rivalry.”
Upon signing his contract extension during the offseason, Rice purchased a home and began to decorate. Rice is accustomed to trading jerseys with fellow players after the game and has begun to adorn his “man cave” walls with them.
As Rice described it, his basement has become quite colorful.
“It’s not like you’re out there and doing derogative stuff like spitting in [the towel],” he said. “You’re not going to catch me on YouTube burning the Terrible Towel.
“Where I’m at in my career, you cherish the rivalries and cherish the moments.”
Rice is nothing short of a model citizen and has used his celebrity status as a voice to advocate an anti-bullying movement and other causes. Given his PG and kid-friendly persona, disrespecting the Terrible Towel or the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise is something Rice would never intend to do.
“I apologize for those who’ve seen it as disrespectful,” Rice said. “I though it was a pretty cool gesture, exchanging my gloves with a fan and walking out with [the towel].”
Ultimately the Ravens won the game 13-10 and that’s all that Rice cares about saying, “Getting a victory there was cool and I’ll leave it in the past.”
Woodley and the Steelers fan base don’t have to accept Rice’s apology and will have another chance to face him next Sunday as the Steelers travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens for the second time in three games.
“Should I be worried about a bounty alert or something?” Rice said while laughing.
“Their fans are great, their organization is great and the rivalry is always going to continue to be great. To have something in your basement to know what the rivalry is all about is pretty cool.”
Rice is financially secure after his extension paid him $40 million over five years with $24 million guaranteed. Rice is hoping to save his money so he doesn’t have to do anything desperate with his jersey (and now Terrible Towel) collection.
“I hope I don’t have to eBay any of that stuff,” Rice said jokingly.
Knowing the type of person Rice is, it was already apparent that he meant no disrespect through his actions on Sunday evening. His comments today only reaffirmed that Rice is all class.