Despite his atrocious actions toward his then-fiancee, where he knocked her unconscious in a casino elevator, former Baltimore Ravens sunning back Ray Rice may face a possible reinstatement next month. After being suspended indefinitely (of course, disgustingly, that was only after being suspended two games at first) and released by the Ravens, Rice has set up an appeal date and expects a quick decision that could allow him to play sometime around the middle of November. Of course, that is provided that another NFL team wants to sign Rice, who not only comes along with a ton of baggage, but also with rapidly declining skills. If a team wants to gamble on signing Rice, and actually feels as if the potential rewards outweigh the risks and negative attention, then they may get to roll the dice within the coming weeks. Yet, despite the speculation to the contrary, I see absolutely zero chance that the New England Patriots sign Rice.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports threw out the idea in a column yesterday morning. I say we throw it right back at him.
“Numerous legal experts I’ve spoken to believe Rice has an exceedingly strong case, and, considering it could be Week 10 or so before this hearing is resolved, it’s hard for them to conceive that Rice isn’t reinstated by Jones as part of her decision,” writes La Canfora. “If he is, would a team like the Colts, coached by former Ravens assistant Chuck Pagano who thinks highly of Rice, or New England, where Bill Belichick has very strong ties to Rice’s college coach, Greg Schiano, take a chance on Rice if they need a running back down the stretch?”
I don’t see it happening.
I will admit that the Patriots have taken chances on “bad boys” in the past. They have signed or traded for players such as Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Albert Haynesworth and Aqib Talib. Many of those players made the Pats a much better team. Others were basically irrelevant.
The difference between all of those players and Rice is that none of them ever struck their fiancée. None of them dragged their significant other’s lifeless body out of an elevator, all while showing zero remorse. None of them were forced to hold a press conference to apologize for such a deplorable crime, yet never once apologized to the victim.
Belichick does have strong ties to Schiano. It was one of the main reasons that New England traded for Talib. And, yes, they did lose Stevan Ridley to an injury for the rest of the season. But, no, I see absolutely no way that the Patriots sign Rice.
I think Aaron Hernandez may have changed their stance of bringing in potential reclamation projects. I am not saying the two are related, but New England will not and cannot risk rostering another player with that sort of baggage.