Recently named free agent and victorious in overturning NFL Commissioner’s Roger Goodell suspension, Ray Rice could be playing as soon as Sunday if a team takes a chance with him. A judge deemed the commissioner’s sentence to be arbitrary allowing the NFL’s poster-child of bad behavior a chance to immediately resume his career after Goodell and the NFL continually mis-handled the entire incident, including the exhile of Rice which seemed more about damage control than actually caring about domestic or any other forms of abuse. So, where does this leave both Rice & NFL?
Well, NFL insider Jason La Caforna thinks that none other than the Circle City makes a lot of sense for both parties. Let’s face it, any former or free-agent Raven will almost always be tied to the Colts as long as Pagano is coaching the team. Speculation is one thing, but the reasons seem almost as though destiny is pulling the strings. Here’s why it makes sense:
The Colts are in need of a running back after the loss Ahmad Bradshaw, whom although wasn’t technically the starter, he provided starter-like skills. Grigson & Pagano have done their best both before the season’s start and during the season to try to sell us Trent Richardson as the team’s feature back. Yet we all know that even they don’t believe that now. Boom Herron starting over T-Rich is just the latest evidence to disprove that theory. Trent hasn’t produced and honestly is probably the third best running back behind Herron and Tipton currently. So you can bet Grigson is looking to add depth, especially someone that can protect Luck.
That’s the first component to this piece of the puzzle. Then you add Pagano and the former Ravens now on the team: Redding and Jones, who both know Rice well and it’s easy to connect the dots. La Caforna even goes further by saying that Rice is “well thought of” by the aforementioned players. Also, Pagano and Rice reportedly have a “strong relationship” so it would not be a far reach for any of the names listed to make the case for Rice to rehabilitate his image in Indy.
That leaves the other pieces – Grigson and Irsay – would have to approve the signing. So would they? Something tells me yes. First, Grigson doesn’t seem to shy away from players with checkered past, but is Rice too radioactive for Indy? I get the feeling that there would be some bad press, but that would eventually die down, especially if Rice played well. That’s not me making the case for him – just stating reality. Indianapolis has long been known as a friendly press town or at least one where the team has a strong influence on the press. That leaves Irsay – could he possibly welcome Rice? It seems that if he didn’t he might come off hypocritical with his latest legal issues and his insistence that he’s got the help he needed since Rice is saying the same things. Rice would also likely reach out to whatever community he lands at and would get involved in domestic abuse issues. Also, factor in the fact that Rice would be a bargain and seems to make way too much sense.
So am I endorsing this idea? Short answer is no, but with that being said I could see a real possibility of that happening. Rice fits almost too well with all the criteria for Indy. Goodell really botched this from the beginning and then tried make things up on the fly, which resulted in an unjust punishment on Rice. Don’t take this as me sticking up for Rice, but I’m just looking at it from a legal perspective no matter how I feel about him as person.
The biggest question remaining: Is Ray Rice too radioactive even for a team like Indianapolis? I’m not sure and because Roger Goodell messed this up from the beginning, there’s a real possibility that it could happen. I’m just not sure how I’d feel about it. I’ve written about how the NFL blew it with the female fan-base. Now the ball could be in our court. Do we protest if he is signed? Ultimately, it seems that some people will complain and at some point Rice will win over some of the fans, eventually leading to him rehabbing his image and all of this becomes a distant memory. Winning hides a lot of flaws; Rice is counting on that, and most likely he will be considered right and maybe wearing our beloved shoe.