Ray Rice: 2012 is over, time to focus on 2013
Ravens running back Ray Rice joked around, laughed on the sideline with teammates and generally looked thrilled to be back on the practice field as the Ravens held their first full-squad workout of the 2013 season at the Under Armour Performance Center on Thursday.
"Man, it just felt good," Rice said when he met with the media after the roughly 2 1/2-hour workout. "We got blessed with some good weather, so you can’t complain. But the best thing about getting out there today was being with our teammates. ... We know that the grunt days are coming and this is a time ... for us to get after each other and get to know each other, and this is the time to get us ready for a long season, and that’s what training camp is all about."
Rice spoke of avoiding the Super Bowl hangover and being unselfish in the Ravens offense, and he didn't run from questioning about the criticism lobbed at him earlier this month by NFL Network analyst Donovan McNabb.
A couple of weeks ago, McNabb criticized Rice for his problems with fumbles in the postseason. Rice had just one fumble in the 2012 regular season, but then lost three fumbles in the playoffs -- two against the Colts and one against the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Over his career, Rice has fumbled seven times in 77 regular-season games, but six times in 11 career playoff games.
"Ray Rice we know is a Pro Bowler that can make big plays for you," McNabb said. "but he has a tendency of fumbling the ball entirely too much."
Speaking after practice on Thursday, Rice said, " That’s his opinion. I’ll be honest, I always respected him, and one thing I don’t do is retaliate back. ... That’s his opinion. But to the world’s opinion, I’m still who I am, still made the Pro Bowl last year, and still won a Super Bowl."
Rice later said criticism such as McNabb's will only continue to drive him.
"If all was good to say about me, then I have nothing to prove," Rice said.
"That’s what always fuels me, year in and year out," he added, "because somebody finds something against my game and says something about it, and I just try to prove myself right, not the next person. So, I just keep working and keep working, and that’s what’s kept me at this high level.”