Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back has won his appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL and isWhich team will sign Ray Rice?
immediately eligible to sign with any team he chooses.
Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled that there was no evidence that Ray Rice lied to or misled the NFL in the meeting they had back in June. Therefore, she said that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated. Jones went on to say that Ray Rice should not have been disciplined beyond the initial two-game suspension with an additional fine of one week's salary.
According to Dan Hanzus, Around the NFL Writer, Ray Rice issued a statement on Friday about the judge's decision:
"I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisors, family, friends and fans -- but most importantly, my wife Janay," the statement read. "I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions. I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes."
The question now is which NFL team will sign Ray Rice. Teams that are interested in him must also make sure that Ray Rice the player will be able to contribute enough to their team that he is worth all the publicity that will come with his signing. There will undoubtedly be backlash in the city of the team Ray Rice signs for, but if it is handled correctly it can be made into something very positive.
Teams that should be interested in signing Ray Rice should be teams that are looking to make the playoffs and trying to make a run at the Super Bowl.
A personal relationship with Rice, such as coaches that know Rice personally or that have a past relationship with the Ravens organization are more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt and give him a second chance.
Ray Rice to Indianapolis Colts?
At the top of the list of interested teams should be the Indianapolis Colts. Their head coach Chuck Pagano was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens before becoming the Colts head coach so he knows Ray Rice. Ahmad Bradshaw is out for the season due to a broken leg, so that leaves Trent Richardson and Daniel Herron in their running back stable. So the Colts fill all the criteria that I talked about earlier. Rice's catching ability would also fit into the Colts system very well.
Ray Rice to Cleveland Browns?
Another team that should show interest in Ray Rice is the Cleveland Browns. Kyle Shanahan is the offensive coordinator for the Browns, who was the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans while Gary Kubiak was the head coach there, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Shanahan and Kubiak run the same kind of outisde zone run plays and Rice looked very good running these types of plays this preseason with the Ravens and Kubiak.
The Browns need a 3rd running back after cutting Ben Tate. As of right now they have Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell on the roster. The Browns are in a hot battle right now fighting to be the AFC North Champions and could use Rice's running and receiving talents.
Ray Rice to Arizona Cardinals?
The Arizona Cardinals should also be interested in signing Ray Rice. As of right now they rank 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Andre Ellington is their leading rusher and their 4th leading receiver. That is a lot of times handling the ball and each time he totes the ball their is a greater risk of injury, plus Ellington is not very big. Ray Rice with his receiving ability could help take some of the load off of Ellington.
The Cardinals are 9-2 right now and have the goal of making it to the Super Bowl, but if they were to lose Ellington it would greatly hurt their chance of making it. Ray Rice would be a good insurance policy for them.
Ray Rice to Detroit Lions?
The Detroit Lions should also be interested in signing Ray Rice. Reggie Bush is listed as day to day with ankle and back injuries putting a big load on Joique Bell's shoulders. Bell is their leading rusher and 5th leading receiver, so Ray Rice could really take some of the load off of Bell.
The Lions are battling the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North Championship.
Ray Rice to New England Patriots?
The New England Patriots should also be interested in signing Ray Rice. They have already lost Stevan Ridley for the year, Shane Vereen is battling an ankle injury and is listed as questionable this week. That leaves the Patriots with Jonas Gray, LaGarrette Blount, and James White as their running backs.
Ray Rice would fit in very well with the Patriots offense because of his receiving abilities. Plus the Patriot fans would trust Bill Belichick if he decided to sign Ray Rice and I believe they would get behind the signing.