NFL camps are open and Ray Rice remains without a job. It's now safe to wonder if the former Ravens star will ever get a chance to rebuild a career reduced to rubble following a domestic violence incident that rocked the NFL.
Rice hasn't given up. He hasn't played an NFL game since Dec. 29, 2013, and knows the clock is ticking against him at age 28 -- dangerously close to date of expiration for most running backs. In a sitdown with ESPN's Jemele Hill, Rice remained optimistic when asked to assess his NFL future.
"I have a lot of hope and faith that I'll be able to hang 'em up the right way," he said in an interview that aired Tuesday. "That's what's keeping me going. That's what's keeping me working. My wife and my kid believe in me. They're pushing me harder sometimes than I can push myself. I just want to give it all."
Rice was asked what he felt about teams that feel he would represent too big a distraction due to his past.
"I always preach one or two bad decisions, your dream could become a nightmare. Well, I had to eat my own words. I truly lived the nightmare," he said. "And there's (nothing) set in stone whether you're going to get a second chance or not, but like I said my hope and faith and everything else that I'm doing in my life I'm just really hopeful for a second chance."
Rice continues to be appropriately contrite, and he told Hill that he pondered suicide for a period after elevator video of Rice knocking his wife out became a national story.
"You kind of replay that in your mind when you see the video," he said. "And I know what it felt like to not want to live anymore, but I realized I couldn't check out on my family. I couldn't check out on my 3-year-old daughter. I know what it felt like to grow up without a father, so how could I turn my back on my family at this moment?"
The news involving Arian Foster acted as a reminder on Tuesday that there will always be teams scouring the free-agent pile looking for help as the NFL season takes its inevitable toll. But will a team ever decide Rice is worth the baggage? That remains unclear.