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Ray Rice Conference Call Transcript

Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice addresses the New England media during a conference call on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

Q: How does this Patriots defensive line look now without Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly? It's certainly different from what you're used to seeing, right?

RR: A lot of skill, man. The guys still play hard, play fast. They've got that next man up mentality. I don't look at stats any more. I don't look at things like that. Those guys are playing with a high motor and it's definitely going to be a challenge for us.

Q: You must be pretty happy though not to see Vince Wilfork on defensive line come Sunday.

RR: I mean, you respect a guy so much like Vince Wilfork that you kind of want him out there because it's always a great game when he's in there. So, I mean I wish him health, I wish him a speedy recovery because that's a tough thing to come back from. You know, he's definitely going to be missed out there because of the respect, number one, that I have for him. We've had pretty good battles against him over the years.

Q: Do you think the Ravens as a team are playing their best football right now?

RR: Well, I think we're playing pretty good football right now. The one thing that we're doing is finding ways to win. We're just coming together as a team and it's one of those situations where we're just trying to play good football late in the year. Early in the year we had our bumps and bruises as well as everyone, you know, a lot of teams in the league had. But right now, we're trying to find our stride and get this last push.

Q: Is there a thing or two that you point to that resulted in the team's turnaround the second half of the season?

RR: I mean we've just been playing together. We've been playing complementary football. The defense has been helping us, the special teams has been playing well. We'd like to score a little bit more touchdowns, but we'll take winds any way we can get them.

Q: Is it a testament to your maturity as a player that you have been able to overlook that your personal numbers have been down this season?

RR: I've been dealing with injuries this year. This has been a different year for me. Everybody plays through different things, and my numbers are what they are, but I'm doing what I can do to help my team. The injury I had this year wasn't something that you just bounce back from and say, 'Oh you know I had a hip…' It is definitely very hard to play through week in and week out. So when I look at things like that, statistics, I don't worry about things [like that]. You know, I've proven myself over the years, Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl. That [other] stuff really comes a dime-a-dozen. Right now I'm really focused on this year. You can't just say – as far as being healthy, I'm healthy enough to go out there on Sundays. That's what I'm looking forward to.

Q: That's kind of what I was driving at, not being hung up on what the numbers are.

RR: Oh yeah, man the numbers don't mean nothing. I'm worried about wins right now. I mean, everything else takes care of itself. At the end of the day, we've all got things to be thankful for, so I'm thankful just to be out there and be able to play through this [injury] this year and not have to tank it in.

Q: I spoke with Devin McCourty and he told me what a great relationship he has with you. Can you talk about your relationship with Devin and then comment on the number of Rutgers players that are on the Patriots roster?

RR: Man, you know they've [Rutgers football] got a lot of guys up there. It just goes to show, you know [Bill] Belichick's got a thing for them. They come there, they work hard, and they're not problematic. They all come there just blue collar and they get the job done. It's crazy just to look at the secondary and see how many of the Rutgers guys are in there. I'm like, 'Man.' It's just a testament to the hard work [of the Rutgers players]. My hats off to them for going in, number one, and not just getting up there and be happy to be a Patriot, but actually going out there and making plays. That's a pretty spectacular thing to do.

Q: Hey when is your contract up? They can add you up here, because they need some more offensive guys.

RR: I've got a couple years left. I'm under contract for some time.

Q: You could never be a Patriot thought right? I mean once you're a Raven. It's got to be tough. It's like going to be a Steeler.

RR: I mean, the business side of it… [laughing] That's the one thing that is not fair to say because we don't get to choose where we go. We kind of just got to do what we do. Obviously I've laid my foundation here in Baltimore. You know it's a great city and it's been great to me. But, you know who knows what the future can hold. If I can retire a Raven, that would be great. But, it all depends on the running back position too. The wear and tear of a running back, obviously it's true. So you don't want to be going out there and tarnishing something that you're already doing well. I'm doing well, and that's where it's at.

Q: That's a great point. When you think about guys like Emmitt Smith and OJ Simpson who went someplace else and it didn't end as well in those last couple years. Would you be a guy who looks at the end of your career and say, 'If I can't do it the way Ray Rice used to do it, I'm not going to continue?'

RR: Yeah. You know it's always something to think about at the running back position. I'll just put it out there – my goal was to make it 10 years in the NFL. Anything after 10, if I can't do it the way I want to, then it's something to think about. But, I'm young. I came in the NFL at 21 years old, a young guy. So, I'm still young; I'm only going to be 27 in January. So, there's a lot of football left to be played. With that being said, I have priorities too. You know I have a young daughter, and you've just got to put all that in perspective when you're going out there week-in and week-out, especially when you get older in your career.

Q: What's your relationship like with Devin McCourty?

RR: Man, those guys [Jason and Devin McCourty], him and his brother man, they're more than good people. [Those] guys are very hard workers. My relationship with them, I mean we go to each other's camp in the offseason and it's just fun to be around them because you know what you're going to get out of them. You're going to get some fun, you're going to get some laughter, but at the same time they are very hard working people.

Q: Were you guys close at Rutgers?

RR: Yeah those were my guys. We had to stick together. Being that they were from [New] Jersey – they were from like that hybrid New York, New Jersey area, so we had to stick together because when you recruit guys from Florida and everything, the Florida boys used to think they were a little bit better than us up-north guys. We had to show them that we could play some football up north as well.

Q: Your team has had its share of success against the Patriots. What makes it such a good matchup for you guys?

RR: I think it's just we know them and they know us. It's kind of one of those old deals where, there's just no tricks to the game. It usually comes down to who wants it more and who execute better. That's usually how it goes.

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