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Ray Rice Comfortable Sharing The Spotlight

Posted Jan 25, 2013

The Pro Bowl running back knows Joe Flacco is now the driver of Baltimore’s offense.

Ray Rice doesn’t run from the spotlight.

“I wonder what it feels like to get the MVP of the Super Bowl,” he pondered Thursday.

But while Rice says he wants to glimmer the most amongst the game’s brightest stars in Super Bowl XLVII, he also knows that isn’t his role for Baltimore anymore.

And he’s fine with that.

Rice follows the lead of quarterback Joe Flacco, the man now gracing Sports Illustrated covers, the one linebacker Ray Lewis called “The General” of the team after one of his three stellar postseason performances.

“He leads it. It’s his show,” Rice said of Flacco.

“I’ve always been a guy that said we have a great offense. There’s only one ball to go around. You see it’s getting spread a lot now – everybody’s getting it, everybody’s touching it.”

In past playoff years, opponents stopped the Ravens by stopping Rice.

In 2008’s AFC championship loss to Pittsburgh, Rice had one carry for 2 yards. The next year in Indianapolis, he had 13 rushes for 67 yards and a fumble.  In 2010, Rice ran 12 times for 32 yards in the divisional loss in Pittsburgh. And in 2011, he had 21 carries for 67 yards in the AFC championship loss in New England.

But these are different times in Baltimore.

Rice ran 15 times for 68 yards and lost two fumbles in the wild-card round against Indianapolis – and the Ravens won. He rushed 19 times for just 48 yards in New England – and the Ravens won.

“When a team shuts me out, you’ve got to do your best to guard Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith,” Rice said. “You better do a great job of tackling Bernard Pierce as well. It’s just one of those things where you look at the weapons we have.”

Rice is surrounded by a bounty of them. The rookie Pierce averaged more yards per carry than the veteran Pro Bowler this year. On Thursday, Lewis likened Pierce to then-rookie running back Jamal Lewis when he led the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Rice was sitting in the room when Lewis said Pierce could lead them like Lewis did. He didn’t move a muscle in his face.

It’s because Rice says he’s comfortable with where he’s at in his career.

“I’m blessed to be where I’m at,” said Rice, who signed a five-year contract extension last offseason. “My contract’s done. I’m able to take care of my body. The more playmakers the less I have to put my body physically through. I’m there and I feel great.”

So what’s in it for Rice now?

It begins with a Lombardi Trophy. And although Rice said he’s fine seeing others get the ball, he’d like to make a major impact.

“Who knows how many shots you get to play in the Super Bowl. I plan on playing in more, but what if this is my last one?” Rice said.

“What I’m playing for now is a complete legacy.”

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