Whatever his workload, Rice is ready

Whatever his workload, Rice is ready
June 25, 2013, 9:45 am
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There are things that Ray Rice could be worried about, but he has chosen not to.

Rice talked about sharing carries with Bernard Pierce, the departure of fullback Vonta Leach, and the numerous offseason changes the Ravens have made during a Tuesday appearance on NFL Network’s “NFL-Am.” The Ravens may use more of a two-back system next season – moving closer to a 50-50 split between Rice and Pierce. If that happens, Rice said he would not sweat it.

“We have so many weapons on offense, there’s only one ball to go around,” said Rice, who has rushed for at least 1143 yards in each of the last four seasons. “Needless to say, I know my role on this team, I know my role in this offense, I know what I’m capable of doing. On any given Sunday, I can have 150 all-purpose yards in the blink of an eye. It’s all about what the defense is giving us at the time. I’ve never been a guy to try and force anything, but I’m definitely going to be somebody, who when it’s my time to make a play, I got to make it.

“I know when it comes down to crucial situations, I’ll be in the game. There’s not one running back that takes it all. There’s a few, Adrian Peterson and a few other guys. But Bernard’s a great backup, and he’s a great runner. We’re totally different backs. It’s hard to prepare for two guys that can come at you. It gives you a nice change of pace.”

Rice said he would miss Leach, a stance that many Ravens have echoed. Leach, an All-Pro fullback, was released earlier this month when he and the Ravens could not agree on a reduced salary. There has been speculation that Leach could still re-sign with the Ravens, but an ESPN report has named the Dolphins as the frontrunner for Leach.

“Vonta Leach is a rare breed,’’ Rice said. ``He’s one of the last true remaining fullbacks in the NFL. He surely will be missed. Our offense will be different without him. He brought a defensive personality to our offense. He just wanted to knock people out. He’s a great player.

“All the business side of it will take care of itself. If he lands a job, we’ll be carrying something that no one can take from us. We won a Super Bowl, and I got two Pro Bowls with him blocking for me.”

Rice said he liked what he saw during June mandatory minicamp, and looked forward to the start of training camp July 21. He expected the new-look Ravens to be formidable, even without familiar faces like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

“When we all were there, the whole team, we gelled immediately,” Rice said. “We worked very hard. Needless to say, it was a little bit different not having them guys around, but you see new leadership start to show up.’’