Ray Rice says he didn’t spit on Phil Taylor in Week Two

AP

The Ravens and Browns are squaring off for the second time this season on Sunday, which means that bad blood from the first meeting is getting churned up.

In that Week Two matchup, Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor got a 15-yard penalty for slapping Ravens running back Ray Rice in the helmet as the two were jawing after a play early in the game. Taylor hinted after the game that Rice spat on him, which Ravens coach John Harbaugh denied at the time and which Rice denied this week when asked about the altercation.

“It’s old,” Rice said, via the Baltimore Sun. “There’s nothing that came out of it. Two guys jawing at each other and I had my mouthpiece in, so when I went to say something back to him, it looked as if I projected toward him, but I had my mouthpiece in. I was saying something, he was saying something. Obviously, that’s what happened. We’ll leave it at that. Phil Taylor is a great young player, a dominant force. I’ve got tremendous respect for him.”

Perhaps it was Roger McDowell all along?

Neither player was fined by the NFL for the incident, which shouldn’t be much more than distant backstory for Sunday’s game since the Ravens badly need a win to keep their feet in the playoff race heading into the second half.