Quotes from Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA DAY
RUNNING BACK RAY RICE
(on his feelings on being in the Superdome) "It feels great. Look at this place. It's been cool. I can't wait until the family comes down, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can. Tomorrow we get ready to work, ready to practice. It's my first time here. I stood in our end zone. Hopefully, I'll get me a little flexing there this week. It's theSuper Bowl. It's the best event in the world. Everybody watches the Super Bowl, so to be playing in it is definitely special. I just go back to my roots where I was born up and raised, and it feels good."
(on Jim Caldwell's new role as offensive coordinator) "Coach Caldwell is a great guy. One thing about him is he kept things simple, but he has that way of saying something and getting it across to everybody. He coached the best, Peyton Manning, and look what he's done with Joe [Flacco]. He was the quarterback's coach, but now he took over the role of offensive coordinator. We all took that upon our shoulders to go in there and execute at a high level, but Jim Caldwell is definitely a great guy. That's not something that you want, a change in between the seasons. One thing about it was our head coach made that decision. The players don't make that. We go out there and make plays; that's what we get paid to do. We don't get paid to do anything else but go out there and make plays. That decision was solely upon the organization and the coach."
(on his earliest Super Bowl memory) "I've never been to a Super Bowl, but the one I watched was in college when I watched the [New York] Giants play. I was actually coming out for the draft. I was coming out of college my third year to the draft. I remember going out to the little lounge. We were training for the combine and ended up watching the Super Bowl party. The game was over. I think [Giants WR] David Tyree made the catch, if I'm not mistaken. That was back in Jersey. I brought all the guys I was training with down, and we watched the game."
(on Ray Lewis) "The main thing that Ray Lewis has done for my career was he taught me how to be a pro. Me being a pro has everything to do with how you act, not only on the field, but off the field as well. He was a leader by example, but his words get across to not only us but everywhere in America. It feels good to know that he's my guy not only on the field, but for life."
(on his guilty pleasure during offseason) "Mom's cooking and more of Mom's cooking. I'm allergic to shellfish, so I don't get a lot of sensations off seafood. I like a lot of grilled chicken. I like pasta. To me, I might be a little guy, but I've got to keep my weight on so I can absorb some of these hits. I've got to be the hammer and not the nail."
(on why it's hard to stop Ray Rice) "I wouldn't say it's hard to stop Ray Rice. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's the NFL. Every team comes in with a game plan. If the team wants to come in there and isolate Ray Rice, they can do that, and I can go off of pass routes. They won't rush the defensive end. It just butchers you on the way out. I know these things, but it's my job to go out there and make plays and not try to do anything that's going to hurt our team. I think when you talk about stopping Ray Rice, you have to stop him in the pass game and you have to stop him in the run game. I'm just as dangerous in catching a pass as I am in running a ball as well. A pass to me isn't anything but a long handoff, so once I get it, I'm good.
(on NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis) "NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis are sizeable guys. They're the two best linebackers in football, and one thing about [the 49ers] is if you try to find a weakness, they really don't have any. I'll be honest; they don't have a weakness. This is one of those games where you just have to keep sawing wood. One thing about it is, you don't just keep trying those guys and think that it's going to be all right. That 52 and 53 are going to be around a long time. They're going to be a force to reckon with, sort of like our guys. I'll just try to go out there and match up on them on coverage. That's where I'll try to get my advantages because I know, in the run game, they're very stout. So, I have to try to have a complete game plan and prepare to attack those two linebackers. They get downhill, and I know my fullback isn't around, but he's got his hands full. We know that."
(on San Francisco's defense) "If you look at their structure, the defense is similar to ours with that 3-4, big nose guard and great pass rushes. We see that kind of stuff every day, and we're successful against our guys. Yeah, they stop us, but we go at them and this year is one of those years where you can see the tide changing a little bit. On the offense, we'll win a little more battles than we're supposed to, but when you have that challenge in front of you, not to say the league is vanilla, but it makes you feel so prepared when you go out there to know that you're going against one of the best defenses. You've just got to go out there and execute."
(on how he wants to be perceived) "Our head coach told us to let our personality shine. When you're at the level of where you're at, you've got to let your personality shine. I'm 26, and I've got a lot left in the tank, but Ray (Lewis) always puts it in perspective: ‘How will you be remembered, and what will your legacy be?' This is part of my legacy right here, my obligation to the media and letting my personality get out there. I've been through enough in my life that I've just got to smile when I'm out. People ask why I'm smiling, and it's because I'm blessed. I've been through so much in my life that there's nothing really to frown about. I want to be known as somebody that's always smiling, even on gloomy days. You find a smile on a gloomy day. I put life in perspective. There's people out there that's really hurting, fighting cancer, all kinds of sicknesses and stuff, and here I am playing in the Super Bowl. What more do I have to complain about? There's really nothing to complain about. You put money aside. I'm still breathing. I'm still healthy. I'm still doing what I love to do. That's something that's special about the NFL that gives you an opportunity. To me, that's what it's really all about."
(on preparing for the Super Bowl) "I've been prepping my mind for it. I don't think you actually get ready for it because it's my first time. The only time you really have to get ready for it is through experience. My experience is only what I've learned from our guy, Ray Lewis. I'm going to try to keep this week as normal as possible. Today when I'm done here, I'm going to work out. I do my cardio and everything I need to do. Tomorrow, I'll get after it in practice. Thursday, I'll get after it. Then, I'll start toning it down where I take care of the body to keep it as normal as possible."
(on former Ravens owner, Art Modell) "Ray had a deeper relationship, but from the time I got to know Mr. Modell. One thing about it is there's no Baltimore Ravens without Art Modell's vision. Where would I be right now without Art Modell? That's just a question you have to ask. To see him get into the Hall of Fame is something that I think this world deserves."
(on if he's satisfied now) "Coming out, I was told I wasn't fast enough, strong enough, definitely wasn't tall enough. I couldn't run. I couldn't jump high. I couldn't do a lot of stuff. That's been the story of my life. Am I satisfied now? Absolutely not... I'm not satisfied where I'm at. I've made three Pro Bowls, and I'm still not happy. I'm blessed and I'm humbled by the achievements, but I'm not to the point where I'm satisfied by my legacy. It has to keep going. These 1,000-yard seasons have to keep going. Sharing the load at running back is probably one of the greatest things that's happened to me because I don't have to put that wear and tear on my body. One of the things I do is spell myself. I have a great young running back who can come in and take some of that pressure off of me, and that feels really good."
(on promoting anti-bullying) "You know how they say, ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words shouldn't hurt you?' Words are killing people, and it's happening over the web with cyberbullying. That's just something I couldn't believe. You know, I get it. Sometimes people tell me how terrible I am, and it doesn't affect me because I know what it's all about, but you get a vulnerable kid who takes these words to heart and feel like it's not worth living anymore. I had to say something about it. I had to. I believe social media is great, but you get people out there who take so much advantage of it, and I use it as a tool to give back positive messages. One thing about social media is you can get your personality out there, but it shouldn't hurt people. That's where people get it twisted."
(on his team making it to the Super Bowl) "We were counted out the whole playoffs. We were not the team. People wanted to see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. That's what they're used to, but we're here. It feels pretty good. We've been close. Anyone who knows the Ravens knows we've always been close. I've been in the playoffs every year my professional career. I know what playoff football is about. I went to three AFC Championships. So, it just tells you that these opportunities don't come by too often to play in the Super Bowl, so it feels pretty good."
(on the running back position) "I have tremendous respect for every running back in the game, but [San Francisco RB] Frank Gore gets on you really fast. When he gets those shoulders going low, I tell you. I watch running backs. I study them. The reason I wear number 27 is because of [former NFL RB] Eddie George. It's just one of those games where you think back on where we came from. [Minnesota RB] Adrian Peterson has done a lot for running backs this year. He brought our value back up. We weren't seeing value because of the way quarterbacks are throwing the ball now. It's still amazing, but when you get a guy go for 2,000 rushing yards, and the sole reason why his team was in the playoffs, how could you not value the running back? We're like a big fraternity. I like to see all the running backs do well because it brings our value up for the next generation that comes in. I'm not saying my contract wasn't great because my family is blessed, and I thank the Ravens for everything they've done for me, but running backs aren't going anywhere. The football needs the running back. Obviously, I'm just one that does a little bit more. I catch, I run, and do a little bit different things, but I don't have a problem taking it between the tackles as well."
(on the fullback position) "Everybody who knows me knows that I'm nothing without my offensive line, but I'm nothing without my fullback. Last year when we played the 49ers, Vonta Leach cracked his helmet. He literally cracked his helmet. I have a picture... he cracked his helmet on [San Francisco LB] Patrick Willis. That's a position that's real and not being appreciated in this game. They're skilled linemen, but they can catch the ball. Vonta Leach, without him, they say they like to go to that single-back offense. No, keep my fullback in front of me."
(on assuming leadership after Ray Lewis' retirement) "We had our leaders, and I never spoke over our leaders. When you have a guy saying he's done, I don't mind taking on that vocal leadership now. I've been taught under the best. I don't need to speak if something doesn't need to be addressed, but I will always be that guy now in the locker room that Coach looks to say something to the guys and get them going. I'm not going to shy away from that. It's a blessing to be able to have something handed down from [Ray Lewis] who we call Mufasa around the building, and they call me Simba."