And then, other players, as if they were in a competition with Rice to see who could be the biggest horse's patootie in the world, committed offenses ranging from waving guns around to soliciting prostitutes to drug possession to child abuse to sexual assault.
And then one of the Ravens' least-valuable players of all time, Terence Cody, was caught abusing a dog and possessing marijuana...and an alligator.
Rice played six seasons for the Ravens, was a member of a Super Bowl champion team, and was an excellent player for five of those years. His production as running back dropped off significantly in his final season of 2013 and he did not play at all in 2014. His league-mandated suspension was overturned by an arbitrator in November, and he was available to be signed by any team.
But he wasn't signed. No takers.
So now, trying to squeeze one more big paycheck out of some team willing to take a chance on an over-the-hill ballplayer, he issued this statement last week:
This is not a farewell or goodbye. The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you've shown my family and I (sic) throughout my football career. We'll always be grateful for the love we've received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl. To all the kids who looked up to me, I'm truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it's helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people's lives by raising awareness of this issue. Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I. I'm very grateful to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and everyone at 1 Winning Drive. I love you all very much, and I'll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens.
-- Ray Rice
Of course, if Ray Rice were still at or approaching the peak of his career - and he was a great player at that time - teams would be lining up to sign up. And probably one of them would have signed Rice for the late-season and playoff games.
But he's on the downhill slope of his football talent, and is reduced to being a punch line on the "Mindy Project" TV show and writing apologia like this.
What was, and what might have been...