New York — Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice says he’s not speaking out against domestic violence as a way to rejoin the NFL.
Appearing Tuesday in a “CBS This Morning” interview with his wife, Janay, Rice said he sees similarities with himself after a video showed Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman at a hotel last month. Hunt was released by the Chiefs.
“Well, obviously, you know, you look back and you see the similarities,” Rice said. “Early on you could feel like ‘Why they keep bringing my name up?’ You can make excuses or you can actually do the hard work,” Rice said.
Rice was dropped from the team after he was captured on videos punching, kicking and dragging his then-fiancee from an elevator in 2014.
“I hate that person. I hate him. Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other — I actually got my second chance,” Rice said, when the couple married weeks later.
Janay Rice said she had no idea she was in an abusive relationship until she was forced to think about it. She said she has never seen the video in which Rice beat her. She said it was the first and only time he physically abused her.
“I was there. I lived it. I don’t really need to relive it over and over again just to appease the world,” she said.
Rice denies he’s looking to get back on the field.
“Well, see that for me, is something that I understand why it was being said early on about, you know, is this a ploy to get back into football. And I’ll be the first one to say it. I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football. The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most,” he said.
He has met with the NFL and shared his story as part of the league’s domestic violence education program.
“I know they are working with groups to try to get more of an understanding. And they’re doing the work,” he said.
Seven Chargers in Pro Bowl
The Los Angeles Chargers placed seven players in the Pro Bowl, including safety Derwin James, one of six rookies across the league to make the game.
James, a first-round draft choice, will be joined on the AFC squad by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Melvin Gordon, defensive end Melvin Ingram, center Mike Pouncey and special-teamer Adrian Phillips for the game, which will be played Jan. 27 in Orlando. James and Phillips are the only starters, though.
Rivers is a backup to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, one of 29 first-time Pro Bowlers. That, of course, includes all the rookies: James, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Wads. Lindsay is an undrafted player.
New England’s Tom Brady is the other AFC quarterback. Noticeably missing is the Colts’ Andrew Luck.
New Orleans, led by quarterback Drew Brees, Dallas and Chicago paced the NFC with five players each. Brees is the starter, backed up by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and the Rams’ Jared Goff.
Buffalo, Oakland and Tampa Bay had no Pro Bowl selections.
Falcons sign ex-Spartan
The Falcons signed former Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford from the practice squad.
Langford, who played two seasons with the Chicago Bears, replaces injured rookie Ito Smith for Sunday’s game at Carolina. Smith was placed on injured reserve on Monday with a knee injury.
Langford, a fourth-round pick by the Bears in 2015, will back up starter Tevin Coleman. Langford ran for 737 yards with 10 touchdowns in two seasons with the Bears.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said it is unlikely starter Devonta Freeman, who is recovering from a groin injury, will return from the IR this season.