Before the ink even dried on his newly signed 5-year, $40 million contract, Ray Rice left the Ravens facility, packed a duffel bag and drove to New York. His first stop was a visit to Mom’s for a celebration that he had promised for a lifetime.
Today the devoted tiny lady who selflessly put her family first while raising Rice who and his three siblings on a single teacher’s salary is a proud new homeowner.
Rice is nothing short of a class act and is someone who appreciates the city he plays in just as much as the team. He is personable, unselfish and most of all is someone who works just as hard off the field with his charitable efforts as he does on the field to prepare for his fifth NFL season on a Super Bowl contending team.
In typical good spirits while smiling from cheek to cheek, Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his contract extension. For about 20 minutes, he talked about his newfound fortune and the journey he’s taken since the Ravens placed the franchise tender on him in March.
For the first time in his career, Rice’s overall worth was questioned when reports surfaced that he was seeking a contract similar to the 7-year, $100 million given to Adrian Peterson by the Minnesota Vikings.
Rice’s response was soaked with candor.
“I never asked for Adrian Peterson kind of money, I don’t know how it got out there but I was just told to keep my mouth shut at the time.”
Rice’s new five-year deal will keep him in Baltimore until the age of 30. The former Scarlett Knight’s growth as a football player is matched only by his maturation as a man as he embraces Baltimore as “home”.
“I want to retire a Raven. Needless to say, Baltimore just became home for me. My license says Baltimore. I’m no longer a New Yorker, I just visit there now.”
During his press conference, financial stability was addressed multiple times. But like an accomplished point guard the southpaw distributed the wealth to others.
“It’s never been about playing for money, I’ve always been a team oriented guy,” he said. “My little gift to [the offensive line] last year, I can actually pay it back now,” in regards to the Breitling watches he purchased.
Before the pricey shopping spree on the watches (a minimum $5,000 price tag on each), some of his linemen were getting on him for being cheap. Now that Rice is guaranteed to make $17 million this season based off salary and bonuses, it looks like he’ll be even more popular amongst his teammates.
“I might have to take over for the offensive dinner. We used to have Derrick Mason and Todd [Heap] but I’m not sure if these guys might put it all on me now,” said Rice.
His teammates will also look to “put it” on the diminutive multi-talented workhorse on the field as well. And as Rice gets ready to take the field today at the Under Armour Performance Center for the first time this season, he has been doing plenty on his own to prepare physically for the long, grueling grind.
“I’ve always known how to keep myself in shape. I probably didn’t need to be at every single thing but I would have loved to have been at some things that were important like minicamp”.
Rice also doesn’t expect to be slowed down by his time off and expects to be acclimated with routes and have his timing back within two weeks.
“I might have to catch some of these rookies, they have a head up on me right now,” he said.
As Rice prepares to be his usual self on the field, he expects to do even more off of it by way of charities and special events.
“I love [charities]; a lot of people think you have to donate money but it’s not about the money, it’s about the time,” he said. “Now I’m able to give out some charitable donations as well to people who need it.”
Rice believes the Ravens gave him a fair deal and is ready to move beyond the business side of the game and get back to focusing on what matters most.
“It feels like I’ve been rewarded for my previous work,” he said. “Now that it’s over and done, we can go ahead and chase this championship.”