Four NFL teams are reportedly interested in signing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was recently reinstated. Two of the teams interested are the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, both in need of passing-catching rushers because of injuries in their backfields, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The other two teams monitoring Rice were not identified.
An artibitrator ruled Friday Rice did not lie to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a meeting in June about his domestic-violence case. The 28-year-old player is now free to sign with any NFL team, but the team that signs him will likely have to justify the signing to its fans.
Rice hasn’t played this season and participated in training camp with the Ravens only in August, but he is reportedly in “good shape.” An American Football Conference team’s running-backs coach told ESPN Rice might find it difficult to return to the league this year, pointing out that some players can quickly learn and adjust to a new offense while others cannot.
Rice is also coming off the worst season of his career. In 2013, he averaged 3.1 yards per carry, gained 660 yards and scored four touchdowns. Rice previously tallied four straight 1,000-yard seasons, with a minimum of 61 receptions in each one. He also led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage in 2011.
The Colts lost top running back Ahmad Bradshaw for the season to an ankle injury, and the team has plugged second-year back Daniel “Boom” Herron into the lineup due to Trent Richardson averaging only 3.4 yards per carry.
New Orleans owns the No. 9 rushing offense in the league this season, but backs Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas all have missed time with injuries.
CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora listed the Denver Broncos as a possible landing spot for Rice. Denver’s backfield has suffered injuries to opening-day starter Montee Ball and backup Ronnie Hillman. The Broncos inserted C.J. Anderson in the lineup recently, but require more depth behind him.