Pending a future legal case, the Baltimore Ravens could be without running back Ray Rice for some or all of the 2014 season.
Assault charges against Rice were filed on March 27, 2014 after he had been arrested in Atlantic City, New Jersey just a month prior. Rice’s date to appear in court has been set for April 28, but regardless of the outcome of the legal case, he could face a penalty from the NFL in the form of a suspension.
Most likely, Rice will miss at least a portion of the season. The Ravens will have to make some adjustments when the time comes. But for now, the team should start thinking about other options in case Rice will have to miss some time.
Bernard Pierce has been a strong running back for the Ravens since he was acquired in 2012. Last season, Rice and Pierce both struggled, causing the run game to suffer. With the running backs failing to put up big numbers, the offense as a whole was not as strong as it has been in recent years.
Pierce underwent offseason surgery on his shoulder. He is still fully expected to recover by the beginning of the season, but the Ravens will need for him to take the proper rehabilitation steps in order to return to the game at one hundred percent.
The Ravens have been making some moves that could help the team out if Rice is not available to play. Bernard Pierce and Cierre Wood were the only two running backs remaining on the Ravens roster other than Rice, but the team signed Justin Forsett earlier this week. Prior to signing with the Ravens, Forsett played in Houston under Gary Kubiak. Having experience with the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator could be beneficial for the offense.