Since the Ravens drafted Ray Rice in the second-round last weekend, the 5-foot-8, 200-pound running back hasn't been down to Baltimore to meet the media and fans face-to-face. So, BR.com took a few minutes to speak to the offensive weapon and see what Rice is all about.
Here is what he said…
BR.com: Ray, welcome to the Ravens. What was going on leading up to the time you were drafted 55th overall?
Rice: "I was just sitting around my house and was actually called by the Detroit Lions' general manager. He told me that I would be going 45th if I was available, so I got pretty excited that I was finally making it to the NFL. Of course, I didn't go 45th. After that, I was going crazy. I felt like, 'Man, I've just been lied to.' It was disappointing, but in the end it was fine. I got that big call from the Ravens a few spots later."
What did general manager Ozzie Newsome say to you when he finally called?
"Ozzie called me around No. 52. He told me I was on the radar, so I just waited for their pick. Everything played out to be perfect after that, because I was only three picks away. I saw my name go across the screen, and it was time."
"He asked me if I was ready to be a Raven, and I was like, 'Shoot, I'm ready right now.'"
You're entering a backfield with a Pro Bowler in Willis McGahee. Do you think you can be that No. 2 back the Ravens are looking for?
"Definitely. Willis is a guy that I look up to, and he's going to be a guy I continue to learn from. I think he can really help me be a better player. I'm very excited to meet him and start that [process].
"Actually, it was similar to my Rutgers experience, coming in with Brian Leonard already there. I came in and had to learn form him. Obviously, last year was different. Being the No. 2 guy, I can be used in many different ways. The way I see it, it's not really one back that takes the load anymore in the NFL. That's why I'm very excited. When I get my chances, I'm going to be fresh."
Rutgers had a losing tradition before you got there. How did you end up becoming a Scarlet Knight?
"I was actually committed to Syracuse, but the coach got fired, so I looked at Rutgers. There was a great opportunity for me there to change the program and make a name for myself. It's amazing that it actually came true."
You helped the school improve from 7-5 your freshman year to two straight bowl games. Could you sense something special was developing?
"After we went to that first bowl game, I felt like something good was happening. Then we went to a second consecutive one, and I thought I had reached the highest point in my career. I'm proud to have helped that program do something that had never been done, and that's win bowl games.
"People know Rutgers football now. They're not marking that game up as an easy win now. They know about Rutgers."
Do you see your smaller size as a detractor?
"My size is an advantage for me. It give me a low center of gravity. For the 380 carries I had last season, I can guarantee that I haven't been really hit too many times. I know that for sure."
What do you like to do off the field if you have a free weekend?
"I'm pretty easy. Sometimes I like to catch a movie, but I really like to go out in the community and encourage kids to succeed."
Your mother has worked for schools in your hometown [New Rochelle, N.Y.] with special education children, and you've been very active in mentoring many of those kids. What is rewarding about that work for you?
"It just takes a little bit of time out of your day. Working with special education kids is something that I take pride in. The name says it all - 'special.' That just means they need some special attention, and after you get to know them, you realize that they fit right along with you."
What do you know about Ravens football?
I know that the people of Baltimore are dedicated and loyal fans. I have family down in Baltimore, so I've been down thee before. I'm familiar with the city, and I love that it's on the East Coast. Baltimore is right along my path. I'm 10 times better off in Baltimore than I would be in Detroit."
Is there anything you'd like to say to all the Ravens fans out there?
"I look forward to meeting and greeting the fans down there. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I hope I can work to make everybody happy with some wins on the football field."