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Ray Rice takes the contract year road less traveled

Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 11: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with the crowd after the Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24-10 at M&T Bank Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Rice didn’t hold out of training camp like Chris Johnson. He hasn’t publicly campaigned for a new deal like Matt Forte. He certainly hasn’t poisoned his relationship with his teammates like Peyton Hillis.

Rice has just shown up for work in his contract year, got paid his $600,000, and tried to keep the spotlight off his situation.

“It’s hard to think about it now — I’m being honest,” Rice told the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve had the ability to not even think about it because, No. 1, I respect my teammates. And I didn’t want to bring my contract, my personal decisions, my life in . . . to this locker room.”

Rice doesn’t need to say anything. His play does the talking. Rice leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,622. He has a career high 12 touchdowns and has already caught over 60 passes for a third straight year.

Don’t expect Rice to start talking about his contract now.

“I have enough respect for the organization to keep it that way,” he said. “And we’re winning. If you love the game enough, you love winning and you appreciate it and live by it. If you take care of the game, the game will take care of you.”

The Ravens have a long track record of taking care of their star players. It’s hard to imagine that Baltimore won’t pay Rice handsomely in the offseason.

He’ll get his big money, without any of the usual drama.

“I mean, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere,” Rice said. “That I can almost assure. . . . I love it here.”