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Jaguars’ play for Bernard Pierce highlights Ray Rice’s reality

The Jaguars need help at running back. Last year’s free-agent acquisition (Toby Gerhart) has been a bust, and the Swiss Army knife from Michigan (Denard Robinson) is recovering from a season-ending foot sprain.

The Jags had some interest in DeMarco Murray, but the money got too rich for them. So they instead pounced via waivers on a guy who had been cut by the Ravens a day after being arrested for DUI.

The Jaguars enjoy both a rabid local following and (for now) national anonymity, making it easier to promptly claim Bernard Pierce on waivers without stepping into the crosshairs of criticism. In theory, that would also make it easier for the Jaguars to be the team that gives Ray Rice a second chance.

And yet they haven’t, which underscores the reality that Ray Rice likely won’t be getting a second chance.

With rosters at 90 per team and guys like Tim Tebow getting workouts, Rice continues to wait by a phone that likely will never ring. It makes his decision not to attend the Veteran Combine even more baffling, since participation in a mass workout would give teams a chance to see what he currently can do without inviting the wrath that would accompany bringing him in for a private look-see.

The passage of time could set the stage for a shot at redemption for Rice. But the position he plays, coupled with his age and signs of decline in 2013, will make it harder for any team to justify enduring the backlash that will come from signing a player who quite possibly won’t be able to do much to help the team win games.

That’s really the difference between Rice and Greg Hardy/Adrian Peterson. The latter two are still believed to possess rare skills that can help a team win, so they’ll be getting a second chance. Rice isn’t, which likely means he won’t be.