Former Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason thinks the Titans should sign Ray Rice. Mason and Rice were once teammates with the Ravens, and Rice has been waiting for a chance to resume his career, after the domestic violence incident that led to his suspension and release.
The Titans have already gambled recently on one player with a troubled past. They drafted wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round, after he allegedly pushed a woman down a flight of stairs while at Missouri. No charges were filed against Green-Beckham, but he was dismissed from the team.
Speaking on ESPN 1025 The Game in Nashville, Mason said he believed the Titans’ investigation into Green-Beckham’s background made them better prepared to sign Rice.
“You took a chance on DGB, his past,” Mason said. “You talked to enough people, you vetted the whole situation, and you talked to enough people that made you feel comfortable enough to draft him with your second-round pick.
“Why can’t it be that way with Ray Rice? I guarantee you anybody that you talk to that is affiliated, that has been around Ray Rice, had time to spend with Ray Rice, will tell you this guy would be great for your locker room. Yes, what he did was horrible. We understand that. But he’s learned his lesson. He was out of football. This guy is fresh, hasn’t played in a year. Up until last year, the year before that, this was a 1,200-yard back that gave you 55 to 60 catches…That is instant impact for a team that is in flux at the running back position.”
Coming off a 2-14 season, the Titans aren’t scaring anyone at running back with Bishop Sankey, Shonn Greene, Dexter McCluster, and David Cobb on their roster. But would Rice be an upgrade at age 28? He missed the entire 2014 season, and in 2013, Rice had a disappointing year (660 yards, 3.1 yards per carry) playing on an injured hip.
Mason believes Rice still has plenty left, and that it’s worth it for the Titans to deal with the criticism that would accompany signing Rice.
“Deal with the PR that’s going to happen for the first two weeks,” said Mason, who also played for the Titans. “But then after that, once the season is settled down, once he proves that he can be a model player within the locker room, and more importantly in the community, all of that other stuff around here would dissipate. Once he started producing on the field, once he shows you in camp that he still has it, then everything else would kind of fall off.
“Your diehard fans that come there every week that have saw a lousy team over the last three or four years, they will come out and they will see a Ray Rice that is putting up numbers. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.”
Mason is willing to give Rice a second chance. But will the Titans, or any other NFL team? That remains to be seen.