Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has won a Super Bowl and has gone to three Pro Bowls. What's his goal now? Maintaining a high level of play for several more years, which has been a challenge for NFL running backs.
That's why Rice isn't complaining about his 318 touches last season (257 carries and 61 receptions), which were his fewest since he became the Ravens' featured back in 2009.
"Going into Year 6, you have to be smart," Rice told ESPN's Mike and Mike In the Morning. "I know I have a lot of football left , but the name of the game is longevity for me now. I've proved I can be a Pro Bowl player and I still know I can go out there and make many more Pro Bowls. Part of the lesson you learn is being smart and realizing you can't go out there and do it all on your own. For me, I'm in a great situation, I've a got a young back in Bernard Pierce and we can share the load. But I know when it's a crucial situation, like a fourth down or a big third down, I go out there and make as many plays as a I can."
Here are some highlights from Rice's SportsNation chat ...
George (NYC): Ray Lewis took you under his wing when you came to Baltimore. What's something you learned from him that surprised you the most?
Ray Rice: One thing I learned is how to take care of my body. Be a pro on and off the field. Work as hard as I can. He taught me how to study film.
Brad A. (Pittsburgh, PA): It's been heavily debated in the past but do you think LeBron James would make an immediate impact on any NFL team; most likely as a TE?
Ray Rice: Yeah, he definitely could. He's just physically gifted.
Alex (Baltimore): Hey Ray! Congratulations on the Super Bowl and a great offseason so far! After practicing with the Raven's new defense a few times, how well do you think the D will do this year? Could you compare them to any of the teams you've gone up against in the past?
Ray Rice: I'll tell you one thing. Our front seven is huge. It will be tough to run the ball, but they look pretty good right now.
Ben (Afton, VA): Which team in the AFC North are you looking forward the most to playing this season?
Ray Rice: The Steelers.
John (DC): Who do you think is the next best team in the division behind Baltimore? Do the Bengals continue to improve? Will the Steelers bounce back?
Ray Rice: I think the Bengals are up and coming. They're a playoff contender. I think the AFC North is one of the toughest conferences in football. Every team in our division will give us a problem.
Shawn (OHIO): Have you ever been barked at while in Cleveland?
Ray Rice: You can hear the Dawg Pound. I have respect for the teams that we play. They can get loud though.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH): What city has the most obnoxious fans?
Ray Rice: I don't like to call other fans obnoxious. Playing in a road stadium is rough. I just call them a prideful bunch. Pittsburgh has a prideful bunch.