Saturday, February 22, 2014
Why Ravens are ready to stick with Rice
By Jamison Hensley
Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome sounded Saturday like a decision-maker who is willing to give running back Ray Rice a second chance.
"Right now, I feel very good about his side of the story, but I also feel very good about what he's done since that to help himself to not allow himself to get in a situation like that one again," Newsome told reporters at the NFL combine.
Rice was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence after a physical altercation with his fiancee early Saturday morning at an Atlantic City casino. No court date has been set.
Based off what Newsome said, this could be the Ravens' stance with Rice going forward: He wasn't in any trouble before the incident, and he's proactive in making sure he stays out of trouble after the incident. Coach John Harbaugh told reporters Friday that Rice and his fiancee are "committed" to working out their issues through counseling. Rice is talking with director of player development Harry Swayne every day, Newsome said. This shows the Ravens aren't distancing themselves from Rice.
Newsome never claimed Rice was innocent when asked about the running back five times in his 13-minute media session. "I don't know whether a different story is going to come out," he said.
Newsome also never said Rice would get cut, even when asked whether a video came out showing Rice striking his fiancee. "We will allow the league to take its position before we would take any," he said.
Obviously, Newsome is concerned about the situation and acknowledged the TMZ video, which shows Rice lifting his fiancee out of an elevator, "doesn't look good."
But the Ravens don't appear to be ready to part with Rice. On Friday, Harbaugh said he expected Rice to be part of the team in 2014. A day later, Newsome said he is pleased with what Rice has done since the incident. Two days, two signs of support.
"Up until we get all of the facts, we will let the process run its course," Newsome said.