Ray Rice may not be having much luck getting back on a football field as a running back, but maybe he will have a better chance to contribute as a coach. The NFLPA is helping to make that a possibility.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this week will see Rice serving as an assistant coach. The disgraced former running back will be coaching the running backs along with former NFL standout Priest Holmes, and each will be looking to share their insights on what it takes to play the position at the next level with some of the more overshadowed prospects coming out of the college game this year.
Whether you think Rice deserves another shot at playing in the NFL or not, there is no questioning his life lessons can and should be shared with those hoping to play in and represent the National Football League in the future. Rice has not played a down since getting caught up in a domestic violence episode in Atlantic City, one that led the NFL to look like a bumbling bunch of fools in responding to and handling the situation.
Moving on form that though, Rice is continuing to look for any way possible to turn the page to the next chapter in his life. While he continues to hope he will one day be given an opportunity to play professional football again, getting a taste of the coaching waters may be a valuable experience for him now.
Considering some of the players that do get second chances in the NFL, for similar or more extreme violations, Rice still not being able to play in the league is fascinating to a certain degree. If he really does not get a chance to suit up again, then he must embrace the ability to have an impact from the sideline or in some other way. Maybe this is the start of Rice’s football future. Maybe the coaching experience will be one Rice cherishes and learns to embrace. Maybe this is the door that is being left open for Rice in football.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is not the top all-star game for college football players turning pro. It may not even be the second or third. None of that should matter though, as Rice is still getting a chance to associate himself with the NFLPA, which may be a more valuable ally right now. The Senior Bowl in Alabama will have a stronger NFL presence, but it is clear Rice must work his way back up the ladder. Serving as a running backs coach for a middle-tier college all-star game is about as low as you can go right now.