Running back Ray Rice's summer months could have been a lot different.
Had Rice and the Ravens not agreed to a five-year deal in mid-July, Rice may have been holding out similarly to Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Drew, who is looking for a bigger deal and is now open to a trade, hasn't participated at all in camp and won't play in Thursday night's third preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium.
On the flip side, Rice has made the most of his training camp.
"I feel like I'm just hitting my stride right now, the timing I'm getting with the offensive line, the timing I'm getting with Joe," Rice said.
"Where I'm at right now, I'm in great shape and I've got a great feel for the offense."
Rice said he has focused on being more patient during training camp, trusting his blocks from Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach.
Running Backs Coach Wilbert Montgomery brought up another key element to Rice being in camp. That's to provide leadership to the other running backs.
Without Rice, second-year tailbacks Anthony Allen and Damien Berry would be the elders of the group – with a combined three NFL carries. Behind them are rookies Bernard Pierce and Bobby Rainey.
"Ray's going to come out here and he's going to work his tail off," Montgomery said. "He's going to work harder than anyone else out on that field, and it's good to have Ray here, because Ray set the examples for the running backs, how we are going to go out here and practice each day."
Much of the chatter this preseason has been about quarterback Joe Flacco taking charge. Even Rice said Flacco is the unquestioned leader of the offense.
But the two-time Pro Bowl running back plays a big role in that too.
"He stands up in meetings, and talks about when things are going wrong or not going good," Montgomery said. "Ray is the first one to let everyone know on offense that we need to step it up – we need to show improvement, we need to work hard each day on this practice or whatever. Ray's a big boy now."