Ray Rice to Coach Running Backs at NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2016

Aug 16, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs with the ball during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After two seasons away from the NFL, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is set to take part in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as a running backs coach.  

According to ESPN.com, the 28-year-old will share the role with former All-Pro Priest Holmes under Mike Martz, who is the head coach of the National Team.

The game will take place Saturday in Carson, California, and it will serve as a showcase for draft-eligible college players.

Rice was suspended and subsequently released by the Ravens in September 2014 after footage surfaced that showed him punching his then-fiancee and now-wife, Janay Rice, in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator.

Although he has since been reinstated, no team has signed the three-time Pro Bowler.

Despite getting passed over by running back-needy teams on a consistent basis, the former Rutgers standout has made it clear on a number of occasions that playing in the NFL remains one of his goals.

Per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Rice reiterated his desire in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show in December 2015: "I do want to play football again, and I'm not ready to give up."

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At the same time, Rice has made it a point to express his intentions to educate young players to ensure they don't make the same mistakes he did, per a November interview on SportsCenter (via ESPN.com):

I think the NFL has such a huge platform and I've seen the platform I had when I was playing, when I would go out and help people. I go out now, and I don't have an NFL platform, but I'm going out there and helping people out. So if I never played a down again, why not see if I could use their platform to go out there and help make a difference?

Young rookies, anybody in college ... I want to be able to spread all of my experiences to help other people, to make them understand that domestic violence is not OK, not even one time.

Rice will have the opportunity to do just that thanks to his role in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, since preparing young players for life in the NFL is one of the event's main purposes.

In addition to that, Rice's involvement could get him back into the good graces of the league, as well as teams that may be on the hunt for running back depth this offseason.

An organization will have to answer plenty of questions and deal with a media circus if it does decide to sign him, but it is a move that could turn out to be well worth the risk if Rice continues to prove he is a changed man.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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