From the sound of it, a good number of Ravens fans remain behind tailback Ray Rice.
According to published accounts of the Ravens’ preseason opener Thursday night, spectators at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium applauded Rice at points early in the contest.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Rice received a standing ovation when introduced before the game, and numerous reports said fans welcomed him with cheering. Also, Wilson and ESPN’s Jamison Hensley observed that boos were not heard as Rice entered the field before Baltimore’s 23-3 win vs. San Francisco.
Applause and a lack of jeering usually isn’t noteworthy behavior when it comes to a home crowd at a football game. But in the case of Rice, it very much is, considering his February arrest for hitting his now-wife.
Asked about the crowd’s cheers before the contest, Rice showed his appreciation.
“It means the world to me. You know what? Everything that I’ve been through, I don’t take anything for granted anymore, especially going out there and playing in front of our fans,” Rice told reporters after the game.
As for the game: Rice rushed three times for 17 yards, with none of his carries going for less than five yards. He started the contest, gaining six yards on Baltimore’s first offensive play. Rice played just one series, as the Ravens went with backups on offense most of the way.
Now comes the Ravens’ first road game of the preseason, a matchup with Dallas on August 16. And that too will be a crowd reaction worth watching and hearing.