- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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The Detroit Lions are in need of a running back. Just don’t expect that running back to be Ray Rice.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters at the owners meetings in Arizona on Wednesday that the franchise would likely not be looking at the 28-year-old who didn’t play last season after being suspended by the NFL.
"I don't foresee that, to be plain and simple," Caldwell said. "We certainly do know him and got to know him when I was there [in Baltimore]. I think at some point, like I mentioned before, somebody will give him a second chance.
"I just don't see it. There has to be a need and a fit in all areas. At this point in time, he's not a fit for us."
Both Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have familiarity with Rice from their days together in Baltimore. The Lions also brought in safety James Ihedigbo last year from Baltimore, a player who knows Rice well.
While the familiarity with some of the coaching staff could have provided an easier landing place for Rice in Detroit than some other spots in the league, Caldwell, general manager Martin Mayhew and the Lions front office have placed a high emphasis on character within the locker room. It has been a message Caldwell has preached since taking over in January 2014.
"It's a number of things," Caldwell said when asked if the Lions' lack of interest in Rice was based on production or recent events. "No one thing in particular. There are a number of things."
Rice is trying to return to the NFL after being suspended last season after a domestic violence incident in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that included video of him knocking out the woman who is now his wife, Janay Palmer Rice.
Rice has 1,430 career carries for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns. During the 2013 season – his last in the league for now – he had 660 yards and averaged 3.1 yards a carry with four touchdowns.
Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.
The Detroit Lions don't have any interest in Ray Rice despite an obvious need at running back.