Raymell Maurice Rice (born January 22, 1987 in New Rochelle, New York) is an American football running back for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Ravens in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Rutgers. At the end of the 2011 season he was ranked as the Baltimore Ravens second all-time rusher in yards (4377), and attempts (959). He is ranked third all-time for touchdowns (24).
Rice has had to deal with tragedy and adversity from a young age. When Rice was only a year old, his father was killed in a drive-by shooting. Ray’s cousin helped to raise him before dying in a car accident in 1998 due to a drunk driver. Ray’s mother Janet raised her four children with only one income from her job as a special education teacher.
Rice was the primary running back at New Rochelle High School, playing alongside future Rutgers teammates Courtney Greene and Glen Lee. His sophomore and junior seasons saw him take the primary duties, but he became the feature back in his senior year.
In his junior year, he helped lead NRHS to a New York state championship, and he took the team to the finals his senior year, playing against future Duke point guard and Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus in the state championship game, in which Christian Brothers Academy (DeWitt, New York) defeated West Islip High School.
Rice’s brother, Durell Rice, is currently an offensive lineman for the Dean College Bulldogs in Franklin, Massachusetts.
Before attending Rutgers, Rice had initially committed to Syracuse University; he switched his commitment to the Scarlet Knights following the firing of Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni in 2005. He was only rated *** by Rivals.com but also received a scholarship offer from Penn State.
Rice attended Rutgers. In 2005 (Rice’s freshman year), Rutgers had its first winning season in 25 years and played in only the second bowl in the football program’s then 136 year history. In 2006, the Scarlet Knights won a school record-tying 13 games and registered the school’s highest ever season-ending national poll ranking, finishing at #12 in both the Associated Press and Coach’s Polls.
As a true freshman Rice finished the season as the starting tailback for Rutgers. Rice rushed for 1120 yards and 5 TDs during his freshman campaign, including a 217-yard performance against the University of Connecticut.
Rice gained 1,794 rushing yards in 2006 with 20 touchdowns. His total in 2006 set Rutgers’ single-season rushing yardage record, shattering J. J. Jennings’ mark of 1,353 set in 1973. Rice’s backfield partner during his freshman and sophomore seasons was fullback Brian Leonard. Leonard considered entering the NFL Draft in 2006 but stayed for his senior year and took on a less prominent role in the offense which aided Rice’s rise to stardom. Rice was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting. Rice was named Big East offensive player of the week a school-record three times in 2006. All three times, Rice rushed for over 200 yards, including a career high 225 yard game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Rice ended his sophomore season with 170 yards on 24 carries with 1 touchdown during the inaugural Texas Bowl to give Rutgers its first bowl victory ever in a 37–10 win. He was named MVP of the game.
Rice was widely considered a candidate for both the Maxwell Award and Heisman Trophy in 2007. On October 6, 2007 against the Cincinnati Bearcats, Rice scored his 35th career rushing touchdown, setting the all time program record.On November 9, 2007 against the Army Black Knights, Rice ran for 243 yards and scored twice in the 41–6 win against Army, setting a new school record previously set by Terrell Willis in 1994, and his new single game record. On January 5, 2008, at the second annual International Bowl in Toronto, Rice ran for a new school record of 280 yards, along with 4 touchdowns as Rutgers beat Ball State University 52–30. One of the TD runs was the longest of his career—a 90-yard scamper. Rice won the MVP award for his performance. On January 8, 2008, Rice declared his intention to enter the 2008 NFL draft.
Rice was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round (55th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft and signed a 4-year deal with the Ravens worth $2.805 million plus a $1.1 million signing bonus. He wore number #39 during the preseason then switched to #27 (his number at Rutgers), after the Ravens cut cornerback Ronnie Prude.
Rice made his first start in his first NFL game (Week 1 of the 2008 season against the Bengals). Rice had a team-high 22 carries which was good for 64 yards, fumbling once. Rice also had three receptions for 19 yards, in the Ravens 17–10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Rice had his best game of the season in Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns where he ran for 154 yards on 21 carries. Rice finished out the season with 454 rushing yards on 107 carries and had 273 receiving yards on 33 receptions.
It was announced during training camp that Rice won the starting running back job over Willis McGahee for the 2009 NFL season, and that Le’Ron McClain would be switching back to full time fullback duties.
In the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Rice rushed for 108-yards on 19 carries, which was his second career 100-yard rushing game.
In week 3, Rice rushed for his first pro touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. On October 11, 2009, he caught his first touchdown reception against the Cincinnati Bengals. On October 18, 2009, (Week 6) Rice led his team in both rushing and receiving yards against the Minnesota Vikings. He rushed for 77-yards off 10 carries, scoring 2 touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 117-yards. In week 14, Rice had career-bests 166 rushing yards and 216 total yards, scoring one touchdown. In week 16 at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rice rushed for a career-high 30 times for 141 yards, which broke the Steelers streak of 32 consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher.
He finished the season with 254 carries for 1,339 yards and 7 touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Rice was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, his first, on December 29, 2009.
In the wildcard playoff game against the New England Patriots on January 10, 2010, Rice scored an 83-yard touchdown on the first offensive play for the Ravens, the longest play for the Ravens that season, the longest rush of his NFL career and the 2nd longest rush in NFL postseason history.
On December 20, 2010, against the New Orleans Saints, Rice amassed a career-best 233 yards from scrimmage (153 rushing and 80 receiving) to go along with two touchdowns. The 233 yards are also the third most in Ravens franchise history. For his efforts, Rice was awarded his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. On January 9, 2011, in the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs, Rice became the first Ravens RB to have a receiving touchdown in a playoff game. Ray Rice finished the 2010 season with 1,220 total rushing yards, and 556 total receiving yards. This was his second straight season to amass 1000 rushing yards.
The 2011 season has started off well for Rice. In week 1 against the Pittsburgh SteelersRice gained 107 yards rushing and 1 touchdown, while making 4 receptions for 42 yards and 1 touchdown. The Ravens would win that game 35 to 7. This performance was only the second time a running back had gained more than 100 rushing yards against the Steelers defense since the 2009 season, both belonging to Rice. In week 10 he threw his first career passing touchdown. It was a 1 yard completion to tight end Ed Dickson in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In week 13 of the 2011 NFL season Rice ran for 204 yards on the Browns including a 68 yard run and 1 touchdown. Ray Rice has had four games so far in the season where he has rushed for more than 100 yards, and has over 1000 yards rushing for a third straight season. He is currently second in the NFL in rushing yards, and second in total scrimmage yards. For his actions against the Browns Rice won AFC Offensive Player Of The Week. For his performance, Rice was also tabbed as the new cover athlete for the NFL Blitz video game by EA Sports available on XBLA and PSN. In the following game, Rice ran for 103 yards on 26 carries and averaged almost 4 yards per carry while scoring a touchdown and a losing fumble in the win against the Indianapolis Colts. In week 17 against the Bengals Rice rushed for 191 yards that includes a 70 yard touchdown run in the first two minutes of the game and then rushed for a 51 yard touchdown run to wreak the Bengals chances of not going to the top seed. Rice finished the season with 1364 yards off 291 attempts averaging 4.7 yards a carry. He also had 12 TDs. He was 2nd in the league in total rush yards and finished 1st in total yards from scrimmage. Rice had 704 receiving yards off 76 catches averaging 9.3 yards a reception. Rice was selected to his second Pro-Bowl in 2011.