*For the latest edition of Inside Answers, where we've taken questions from fans and brought them to a top performer in the Ravens' most-recent game. *
Here's running back Ray Rice with his answers to your questions about Baltimore's win over the Jets and the upcoming season.
[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]
Brittin Clark, Ridgewood, NJ:Ray - What do you miss most about playing in the NCAA? You've made a lot of Rutgers fans become Ravens fans!
Rice: "It would have to be the Scarlet Walk. You walked through the crowd and saw all the Rutgers fans wearing red and cheering you on as you get to the stadium. I still love my Rutgers fans. I need to get some more Rutgers gear here in Baltimore."
Jean-Luc LaDouceur, Dundalk, Md.:Hi Ray, love what you add to the offense. You run low and hard, always pick up the blitz, and are dangerous in the open field. I am glad you slipped to us last year.
My question has two parts. First, what was it like finally getting into the end zone after playing well for such a long time and coming up short on a number of occasions? Second, I noticed you held onto the pigskin after scoring, what do you plan on doing with the ball? Thanks.
Rice: "First of all, it was an unbelievable feeling to get into the end zone. It was my first, and I hope it was the first of many. After I scored, I took it to the sideline and gave it to the equipment guys. They sent it away to get it painted with the date and stuff, and I should be getting it back this week in a display case. That's going in my home. I'll never forget the first one."
Glenward Fuchs, Owensboro, Ky.:What was it like to be brought onto a team with so many veterans and hall of fame hopefulls (Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Chris McAlister, Derrick Mason)?
Rice:"It was pretty incredible. I grew up watching a lot of these guys, and now I'm in the same locker room with them. I'm friends with a lot of them. Ray has really been a good mentor for me. I can go to him and talk to him about anything. These guys have become more than just teammates to me."
Don Hefner, Bel Air, Md.:Being an undersized back must have its advantages and disadvantages. What types of plays give you an advantage over bigger defensive players?
Rice:"I like to think that by the time you get to me, I've already picked up 4 or 5 yards. I have a low center of gravity and I think good power. And, it's hard to get a clean hit on a smaller back. I don't take a lot of big hits, and I think that's good for my career. My size has never been an issue. If anything, I believe it is a positive for me."
Justin Ancheta, Berlin, Md.:Congratulations to you on your first rushing touchdown after coming so close many times last season. I hope you kept the game ball. What's it like as a player to walk onto the field at a sold out M&T Bank Stadium?
Rice: "It was pretty surreal. The stadium in Baltimore gets crazy. It was so loud, which I love. And for that game, my mom was in town, so she got to see my first score. Getting the touchdown at home was really special. I don't think it would have felt as good as it did if I had scored for the first time on the road.
"I couldn't think of anything like a dance or something to do coming out of the tunnel, though. That might come in the future. I just gave thanks to God for the opportunity and ran out."
Chris Smith, Milburn, N.Y.:Hey Rey do you have a special bond with Joe Flacco because you both came into this team as a rookie?
Rice: "Well, you have to have a bond with your quarterback, but the fact that me and Joe did come in at the same time is pretty cool. He was the first, I was the second. We'll hopefully be together for a long time in Baltimore."
Auntie Nina, New Rochelle, N.Y.:What is your favorite pie?
Rice:"Hey! That's my favorite auntie from New York. It would have to be apple, but you know that."