Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice remains unsigned in hopes of securing a long-term contract, but in the meantime, head coach John Harbaugh is not concerned about Rice's preparations. Coach Harbaugh appeared on NFL Total Access over the weekend and expressed confidence in Rice's offseason routine. Harbaugh understands the business side of football, but also believes it will not interfere with Rice's preparations:
"Ray will be ready to go when the season starts, he’ll be in shape and he’ll be Ray Rice," Harbaugh said. "He’s one of the hardest-working guys, and I have complete trust in Ray."
Although contract talks appear to be progressing between Rice and the Ravens, there is no rush for Rice to sign his franchise tender in the meantime. The two sides have until mid July to work out a long term deal, and Rice remains one of several players trying to work out a deal. Drew Brees, Dashon Goldson, Matt Forte and Dwayne Bowe are all trying to work out long term deals in advance of the July deadline.
In the meantime, Bernard Pierce would appear to be one of the main beneficiaries of Rice's absence. The Ravens need Rice back, but Pierce will get plenty of opportunities in the meantime to learn the Ravens offense and establish some measure of rapport with the offense.