Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Rice looks to participate in OTAs

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Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice averaged an awful 3.1 yards per carry, and both he and Bernard Pierce were wildly ineffective last season behind an offensive line that struggled to get any sort of push. The Ravens have made some upgrades up front, so Rice is fully expected to bounce back. But the question is, how much more effective will he be? Not all of his struggles can be pinned on blocking, as Rice lacked his trademark agility and explosiveness. Still in his prime at 27, that can probably be better explained by a nagging hip injury, but the caveat here is that Rice stated he had recovered from that injury but was still not effective.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Rice will face a suspension from the league for his assault charge, which is definitely a punishment he deserves. Mort reported on Friday that Rice could be suspended for three games, and that looks like an appropriate amount of time to me.

His impending suspension hasn’t stopped him from participating in team activities, though, as he even showed up for voluntary workouts this offseason. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising at all to see the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson report that Rice plans on attending OTAs from the first workout onward.

Ravens star wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will benefit from the pass-catching additions around him after being the complete focus of defenses last season, praised Rice for how hard the RB has worked this offseason and added that the Rutgers product “looks a lot different” physically. Per Wilson, Rice has shed 20 pounds this offseason in an effort to help regain some more speed, explosiveness, and lateral agility, and I think all the ingredients are there for him to have a tidy bounce-back season.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice Torrey Smith

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