The biggest Ray Rice Day yet was held at New Rochelle High School on Saturday with 700 kids in attendance. Ray’s mom Janet said the original limit was 500 registrants but another 200 were allowed in, busting the camp at its seams.
From the looks of it, Rice and co. had a good time again, which was the focus of my story in Sunday’s paper. Here’s a look at the complete list of current and former NFL players who joined Rice for the festivities: Rice; Courtney Greene (New Ro/Rutgers/Jaguars); Devin McCourty (Rutgers/Patriots); Jason McCourty (Rutgers/Titans); Brian Leonard (Rutgers/Bengals); Mike Teel (Rutgers/former NFL QB); Jamaal Westerman (Rutgers/Jets); James Ihedigbo (Jets); Jacoby Ford (Raiders); Ramon Harewood (Ravens); and Brandon Burton (Vikings).
Several of the people coaching the kids during drills and games were current New Rochelle players. Among them were Journal News all-star TE/DL Anthony Caldararo and rising senior OL/DL Durrell Rice, Ray’s younger brother.
You can check my story for some color about the event. But I also asked Rice and others about the current NFL lockout. And, when you look at it, perhaps none of them has at much at stake during the interminable squabble between the players and owners.
Rice has completed his third season, which puts him in position to re-negotiate for a new deal with the Ravens. It’s a common practice for elite players in the league, and Rice, a Pro Bowler, certainly falls into that category. The problem is, he made $470,000 in 2010 and is due to make $555,000 in 2011. It’s a nice sum for you or me, but Rice undoubtedly deserves a raise. He’s just the 35th highest-paid player on the Ravens.
I asked Rice how eager he was for the lockout to end, knowing that a big pay day awaited him. Here’s what he said:
“It makes you hungry. You’re one contract away from being set for the rest of your life, especially if you’re smart with it. I play for the love of the game, but at the end of the day I do look forward to getting paid one day. I’m just going keep going out there playing.”
The best comparison for Rice is Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew. Aside from the fact that the two are often compared physically, the comparisons run even deeper. Jones-Drew was picked 60th overall in the 2006 Draft. Rice went 55th in 2008. Jones-Drew rushed for 2,533 yards and had 1,408 yards receiving through three seasons. Rice? 3,013 rushing and 1,531 receiving, although Jones-Drew had a big edge in touchdowns, 38 to 14.
Prior to his fourth season, Jones-Drew signed a four-year extension for $31 million that included a $17.5-million signing bonus. There’s probably a similar pay day that awaits New Ro’s finest once the lockout ends. Imagine that.