Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice said at his youth football clinic, Ray Rice Day, that he's ready to start catching more passes, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
The idea of "Rice the Receiver" isn't anything new. As Wilson points out, Rice has had the most receptions of any running back since coming into the league in 2008 (311), and he has the second-most receiving yards among running backs (2,713). The idea of Rice being a top receiver in the Ravens offense, with Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator, is something new, however.
It's not a bad choice for Baltimore in 2013, especially as the team searches for a reliable receiving replacement for Anquan Boldin, whom it traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. In 2011, Rice had 104 targets—just one less than Boldin, who led the team—and he's regularly amassed 500 or more receiving yards in a season, including over 700, twice.
Rice's overall offensive role appeared to diminish in 2012. Both his 1,143 rushing and 478 receiving yards were his lowest totals since his rookie season. This wasn't because of any real or perceived decline in Rice's abilities—he's never been injured and is four years away from the dreaded age 30. It was more about the personnel around him and the man tasked, for most of the season, with coordinating them.