In the coming hours, the Houston Texans will know the severity of Arian Foster’s groin injury. I feel Houston’s got solid depth at the position, but historically, the team has not performed well with Foster out of the lineup (2-13 since he became a starter in 2010).
Alfred Blue (the primary backup last year) and Chris Polk (spent last year on the Eagles) seem to be the two candidates most likely to get Foster’s job, but they’ve already experienced minor injuries this month, and camp just began.
You know where this is headed: There are a few veteran running backs still on the market, including Chris Johnson (below average with the Jets last year), Ahmad Bradshaw (neck injury last year with the Colts), Steven Jackson (last seen begging the Cowboys to give him a look on social media), Knowshown Moreno (dislocated elbow last year in Miami) and … Ray Rice.
Rice is the most intriguing name, the one who, if the Texans brought him into camp, would have the national media flocking to the scene. At 28, Rice is younger than Johnson, Bradshaw and Jackson, and he hasn’t an NFL carry since December 29, 2013.
The worst year of Rice’s life was 2014, when he knocked out his fiancee in an elevator, the NFL suspended him for two games, and then video emerged of the punch and he was released by the Ravens. Rice has been too toxic to touch since the video went online.
Would the Texans bring in Rice? Besides the obvious, Rice has another hurdle: He was terrible in 2013, averaging a career-low 3.0 yards-per-carry. Rice was an elite running back from age 22-25, never injured, and not overused by the Ravens.
What Ray Rice did was horrendous and unconscionable. He deserved everything he received (his fiancee never pressed charges and the two were married last year). But does that mean he shouldn’t be given a second chance? We’re a country of forgiveness. Nobody’s asking you to root for Rice or buy his jersey or draft him onto your fantasy football team. But isn’t it time to give Ray Rice a 2nd chance on the field? His window is closing; when he hits 30, the door will close.
If the Texans make the decision to bring in Rice, everyone – from the owner to the coaches – has to be on board. Simply bringing him in for a tryout is in no way an endorsement of what he did to his then-fiancee in 2014. It’s about giving him a chance to rejuvenate his career the way Mike Vick was given a second chance by the Eagles and then the Jets.
Ray McDonald got a second chance. There was no video in his domestic assault. He blew it. Greg Hardy had an incident in Carolina, but Dallas signed him. Junior Galette got a second chance after he was released by New Orleans. There was video in his domestic incident.