The Browns are openly disappointed in their running backs, but not so disappointed that they’re ready to sign the NFL’s most controversial free agent running back.
That’s the word from Browns coach Mike Pettine, who told SI.com that the Browns have discussed signing Ray Rice but aren’t ready to do so.
“We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we’re there at this point,” Pettine said.
Pettine noted that he and Browns running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery both know Rice.
“Of course it’s a natural question here because of Wilbert, and because I was with Ray when he was a Ravens rookie [in 2008] and know a lot of people in Baltimore,” Pettine said. “Obviously Wilbert was his position coach for Ray’s first six years in the league [2008–13]. I’m not going to say it didn’t come up in discussion, but at this point we’re not there yet.”
The combination of Rice becoming the poster boy for America’s domestic violence problem with the fact that Rice had a bad year in his last season with the Ravens means he’s not generating any interest around the league, even though he has said he’s staying in shape and hoping for a second chance. Pettine’s comments suggest that the Browns are at least open to the possibility of giving Rice that chance. Perhaps these comments are a trial balloon designed to see what the public reaction is to the possibility of Rice landing in Cleveland.