It was recently our great pleasure to speak with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, unquestionably one of the best in the business.
Before he talked football with us, Ray wanted to bring up a new venture he's got going with some business partners (including one LeBron James) for a product called "Sheets Energy Strips," and here's the scoop:
Unlike "energy drinks," Sheets™ Energy Strips are distinctive because they are paper-thin, individually wrapped, dissolvable pocket-sized strips. When placed on your tongue, the strips begin to dissolve instantly and are easily swallowed and digested, delivering hours of energy.
With multiple flavors, Sheets™ won't spill or melt, have no calories, no carbohydrates, no sugar and require no water. Sheets™ uses proprietary technology that provides a breakthrough delivery system enabling consumers to get fast-acting energy — anytime, anywhere. SheetsTM were developed over years of research with top physicians, scientists, professional athletes, and their trainers.
Ray's using the product, and he's getting his Ravens teammates on board, as well. Once we discussed his new business venture, we moved on to football and the Ravens, with some excerpts below. You can listen to the podcast by left-clicking, save it to your hard drive by right-clicking, or get it to your iTunes player or iPod by subscribing to Shutdown Corner's iTunes feed (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/).
What does fullback Vonta Leach bring to the Ravens' rushing attack?
"I love Vonta Leach as a person and as a player. He's a fiery guy, and what he's done is that he's come in here and basically taught me the zone scheme. Because he led Arian Foster to that level [in Houston]. He's teaching me everything I need to know about it, and it's a good feeling. He's intimidating, and he only wants to do one thing, and that's to clear the way for me. We're mixing it up — we had our inside zone, but now, we have our outside zone, as well. It's a scheme I love using because there are so many different ways to gain yards."
On putting up the kind of block Rice did against Donald Strickland of the Jets last Sunday night — running backs love to do that, right?
"I think he had me in man—man coverage, and he thought I was going to stay in. So, knocking him off his feet was a tempo-setting thing, where you let the guy know that he's not just going to run over you. When you're blocking, it's your will against the next man's will, and I take that approach to everything."
How much did the "too small/too slow" comments that hit you when you came out of Rutgers drive you even more to succeed. Did that put a chip on your shoulder?
"Absolutely. I didn't want to come into the NFL as 'the complete back' — I needed something to prove all over again. People telling me what I couldn't do, or what I wasn't, made me even hungrier to get out there and say, 'You know what? It's time to get out there and prove it all over again.' There are still naysayers out there. And you know what? Let's keep proving it."
Who's your favorite running back to watch?
"Man, I love Maurice Jones-Drew. There are so many similarities in our stories, being the short guy — I'm sure he's had people his whole life telling him what he couldn't do. And look at what he's doing in the NFL! I'm sure there's a reason he wears the number 32 — he wanted to prove to all 32 teams that passed on him [in the first round] why he should have been drafted higher."
Are running backs who get more yards from scrimmage than pure rushing yards more underrated? You're one of those guys who can do it all, but I don't know how much that's talked about. You've had 24 straight games with at least 100 total yards from scrimmage, and that's the NFL's best current streak.
"The league is ever-evolving. If you can only run the ball … to me, that's not being a complete player. Some guys are great at it, don't get me wrong — these guys who rush for 1,700 yards — but if you can catch and run, the value of a player is more. Look at Marshall Faulk. He's the epitome of a guy who can give you 1,000 yards on the ground, and another 1,000 yards receiving."
Would that be your ultimate personal goal? To match Faulk and Roger Craig as the only two backs to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving in the same season?
"I would love to do it. In my career, that would be a great thing to do."
There's more on the podcast, so check it out!