San Francisco 49ers receiver Torrey Smith, who spent three years as Ray Rice’s teammate in Baltimore, wants Rice to get another chance in the NFL.
“Good people make mistakes,” Smith told TMZ Sports. “I believe in second chances and I think society is supposed to be built on the idea that you can suffer consequences and come back. . . . People sometimes want you to apologize a certain way, crying or all upset. He’s made things right with his wife and family and earned respect with his actions since the incident.”
It seems unlikely that Rice will get a second chance. He’s been available for months, and no team has shown the slightest bit of interest in signing him. Greg Hardy is with the Cowboys despite a suspension for domestic violence, and Adrian Peterson is with the Vikings despite a suspension for child abuse. But Rice has received not a sniff.
One reason for that is that Hardy and Peterson’s abuse incidents weren’t caught on video. Rice’s infamous elevator video made him the poster boy for domestic violence in America, and signing him would come with a greater public relations backlash than the Cowboys got for signing Hardy, or the Vikings got for keeping Peterson.
But perhaps more importantly is the simple fact that Rice isn’t as good a player as Hardy or Peterson. Hardy is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and Peterson is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Rice is nothing close to that: In Rice’s last season, 2013, he gained just 660 yards on 214 carries. That average of 3.1 yards a carry is the lowest for any player with at least 200 carries in any season in the last decade.
NFL teams are willing to take chances on players with off-field issues, but only if those players are good enough on the field to warrant the risk. Rice isn’t good enough on the field, and that’s why he won’t get the second chance Smith thinks he deserves.