The Baltimore Ravens' decision to honor former franchise running back Ray Rice (who won the Super Bowl with the Flock back in February 2013) before their game against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday garnered mixed reactions from fans of the team and football as a whole.
Rice, a central figure of the franchise at the end of the aughts and the start of last decade found himself in a highly publicized domestic violence case that brought his professional playing career to an end earlier than it should but when he had already become an idol in Baltimore.
Honored at The Bank on Sunday along with his family, Rice received a mostly positive reception from the fans attending the game against the Dolphins. In a survey and multiple interviews conducted by the Baltimore Banner, most fans acknowledged Rice as a great performer and had no issues with his honoring by the franchise last weekend.
The acknowledgment came nearly a decade after the incident that altered Rice's career and public image, one he has fairly come to fix following the incident. Rice has since become an advocate against domestic violence, he's spoken publicly about it, and he's tried to use his experience to help and educate others on the matter.
At the end of the day, as one could expect, some fans expressed forgiveness and recognition of his efforts to amend past wrongs while others (the smallest bunch, though) remained critical of the franchise's decision to honor such a player considering his off-field issues.
"In order to be a legend, you have to do something significant in your life," Rice said before kick-off on Sunday. Just for context, the Ravens were honoring Rice as a "Legend of the Game," thus his comment.
"That can be good or bad," Rice continued. "I think that, today, what it means for me going into the new year, is, the work that was done. I know what I did on that football field. I’ve been doing it, and to have it here on New Year’s Eve [...], this is the best New Year’s Eve I could ever ask for. This is my Super Bowl before our Super Bowl," he finished.
Rice completed a six-year NFL career that started in 2008 and lasted until 2013 before he was released by the Ravens. He won the Super Bowl and appeared in 92 games with Baltimore, starting 80 of them.
The running back is a legitimate Ravens legend, no matter how you look at it, from a performance perspective. Rice racked up 9,214 yards from scrimmage in 1,799 touches throughout his brief career, scored 37 rushing touchdowns, and added 6 more scores on pass plays.