Running back Ray Rice has not played football after video emerged of him punching out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator, and he was cut by the Baltimore Ravens in September 2014. The domestic violence charges have been dismissed and the NFL has since cleared Rice to play, but no team has signed the three-time Pro Bowler.
After two years away from the field, the now-29-year-old appears to be making a stronger plea to get his NFL career back on track.
Rice told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that he will donate his entire 2016 season salary to domestic violence programs if an NFL team will sign him.
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"All the scrutiny that I’ve got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing," Rice told USA TODAY. "I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there’s a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It’s raising awareness."
Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Palmer, in 2014.
Indeed, Rice has been making the rounds to schools and training camps to caution young players about his situation.
"The only way to fix the problem is awareness. It’s an epidemic. I know that my situation raised awareness. I’m not thankful for being that guy, but I’m thankful for the people that now are not afraid to ask for help, because I had to go get the help myself after to realize the severity of what domestic violence is," Rice told a group of high schoolers in the Bronx on Wednesday.
Ultimately, however, it appears Rice, who has been working out near his home in Stamford, Connecticut, wants to change his own narrative by getting back on the field.
"I’m not saying I’d be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it’s something that will show where my heart is," Rice told USA TODAY Sports. "My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way."