When one thinks of Ray Rice, usually one of two things comes to mind: his success on the gridiron at Rutgers and with the Ravens, or the domestic violence incident that ostensibly ended his career.
What you won’t often hear, however, is how much Ray Rice gives back to his community – both his hometown and his adopted one – but that’s what Craig Carton wanted to do when he had Rice join Carton & Roberts on Monday.
On Saturday, Rice, alongside Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and their foundations, donated meals to 10,000 people in Baltimore. The event, held in the parking lot of a restaurant in Southeast Baltimore, was one of several recent food giveaway stops for Rice, who drove boxes of food down from New Jersey that morning.
And Rice didn’t even know how many people he had helped when he talked to Craig & Evan.
“When you’re doing something from the heart you can’t count, but I was working with a great group of guys,” Rice told Carton & Roberts. “People just came together to do something big. Me being from New York, we’ve done New York over and over again, so I said Baltimore is dear to my heart, let’s take care of them.”
Rice, Watson, and their foundations also have done food giveaway events in Atlanta, Orlando, and Miami, among other locales recently, to which the running back quipped that “it doesn’t have to be a holiday to give back.”
“We’re all just doing it together with our foundations. It feels good, it’s like that locker room feeling,” he said. “When you want to win, you need people with the same mindset and goals, who want the same outcome. I’ve been giving back my whole life, but I don’t do it for the attention. It’s the small things of thinking about people in a time of need.”
As Carton told the WFAN audience after Rice’s call, one of those small things has actually benefitted his own family – Carton’s son Lucky played football growing up, and Craig said that Rice would always come by to watch practices and help the kids.
Both Carton and Rice are from New Rochelle, so they share a hometown bond – but as Craig noted, when he went to prison, Rice would call Lucky just to check in and make sure he was okay.
“That’s something that, as a father, I will never forget, and will always love Ray dearly for,” Craig said.
Of course, Rice believes there's a reason you rarely hear about those charitable endeavors.
“I know the media has a job to do, and you respect what comes with the territory, but we know this isn’t a big story because it’s not controversial,” Rice said. “When an athlete does right by his community and you feed 10,000 people, let’s start sharing those stories. Deshaun, here’s a young guy everyone is talking about on the field, and in his private life, he wants to be part of helping communities out.”
Watson comes from a background where he understands just how powerful others giving back can be – for those who don’t know his story, he was 11 years old when then-Falcons running back Warrick Dunn and his charity, Homes for the Holidays, gifted Watson's family a home.
“Man, he’s just a good guy. As a fan, you want to root for a guy like that. You know his story, and he’s salt of the Earth,” Rice said of Watson. He happens to be a leader, a quarterback in the NFL, but you can’t help but root for that guy.”
Enough for Rice to come out of retirement for as he has said, the one 200-yard game he might have left in the tank?
“I don’t know – I think I got maybe one hard 150-yard game left in my legs. You might need to get the wheelchair after the game, but I’ll be okay,” Rice joked.
Listen to Ray Rice’s entire segment with Carton & Roberts below!