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Ravens RB Rice opens up about frustrations with workload

Back in 1997, Keyshawn Johnson got his NFL career off to a notorious start when he released a dagger-throwing auto-biography titled, "Just Give Me The Damn Ball."

We don't know if Ray Rice has read the book, but we're sure he can relate to the title. The Ravens' star is widely believed to be among the NFL's premier running backs, but Rice has had less than 10 carries in three of Baltimore's nine games this seasons, including just five in Week 10's 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Rice has 138 carries this season, down from the 165 rushes he had in the Ravens' first nine games of 2010. He spoke out about the lightened workload after an eight-carry day against the Jaguars in Week 7, and he discussed his use (or lack thereof) again on Wednesday.

"I'm never going to be a guy who talks about touches, but obviously, we know going into a game that five carries is not going to cut it," Rice said, according to the Carroll County Times. "You look at it, and I know five carries is not going to do it, but we find ourselves so deep in a situation that we have to climb our way out. And we were looking for answers."

The favored Ravens fell behind the Seahawks, 19-7, at halftime, leading to Joe Flacco throwing the ball 52 times. Rice had eight catches in the game for 54 yards and a touchdown, but was visibly upset after the Ravens had to settle for a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter. Rice finished with 13 total touches in the game, the same amount he had against the Jaguars.

Rice declined to speak with reporters after Sunday's loss, which he explained was a measured decision.

"I think as a professional, sometimes you've got to look at a situation before you express yourself bottled up with emotional thoughts," Rice said. "My reason for not speaking after the game was more frustration for how we lost the game. It had nothing to do with you guys."

Ironically, Rice's lightened workload could actually help preserve him if the Ravens have a deep playoff run in store. That said, it's easy to understand why he's frustrated. Rice is the best offensive player on his team and basic logic dictates the game plan should be designed to involve him as much as possible.

In other words, Harbaugh ... just give him the damn ball.

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