Ray Rice, like most NFL players, is doing his best to prepare for a new season as the lockout bleeds deeper into its third month.
When the Baltimore Ravens running back does finally get back onto the field, he made it clear in an interview with WFAN 660 in New York that he won't be thinking about the costly fumble that contributed to his team's playoff ouster in 2010.
"I have a short memory. As a running back, you have to have a short memory," he said. "You look at where you came from and you look at where you're going and you can't tarnish your whole career over one mistake."
With the Ravens leading the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 early in the third quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Rice caught a short pass from Joe Flacco and was stripped of the ball while fighting for extra yards. The Steelers recovered the ball deep in Ravens territory, setting in motion a comeback that culminated in a 31-24 Pittsburgh win.
It was Rice's first fumble in 331 touches. He has obvious regrets about the play, but said the key is learning from it and getting better.
"Itâs the same thing for a quarterback. A quarterback throws an interception, he has to get over it the next drive," he said. "It wasnât one of those situations where you see me getting laid out. It was a situation where the guy ... it was a perfect tackle, and I was in a cut. Sometimes when you cut the ball comes away from your body."
Rice said the play has led to better focus on the basics of the game in offseason workouts.
"You get back to work on your fundamentals, this offseason I've been doing a lot of strengthening in my forearms so that way when I'm cutting the ball's tighter, securing," He said. "I got over it pretty fast."
Rice's comments were first reported on Friday by The Baltimore Sun.
Entering his fourth season, Rice has been a key contributor for the Ravens since the team drafted him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Last season, the Rutgers product piled up 1,776 total yards with five touchdowns on the ground and another through the air.
Playing arguably football's most punishing position while standing a stout 5-foot-8 means Rice is more at risk physically than most if the league decides to move to an 18-game schedule. He seemed resigned to however things play out.
âFor a guy like me, you really just want to play football but 18 games is a lot," Rice said. "Itâs hard on a body. Itâs one of those things where, if thatâs what they want, and theyâre going to get it, then Iâm not going to fight it.â