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Ray Rice: My Terrible Towel use wasn't disrespectful

Ray Rice caught the ire of LaMarr Woodley and the rest of Pittsburgh Steelers Nation after Sunday night's 13-10 Baltimore Ravens victory when he was seen with a Terrible Towel draped over his head while walking off the field.

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There are a few things you don't do in life: You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with a Terrible Towel.

Rice clarified Wednesday that he meant no disrespect.

"I actually asked a fan to trade like I've been trading jerseys with guys at the end of the game," Rice said, via The Baltimore Sun. "So, I didn't stomp it or do anything wrong. I actually walked out with it, and I think I'm going to save it and put it in my basement to cherish the rivalry. It's not like you get out there and do derogatory stuff and spit, no none of that stuff. If you think about it, where I'm at in my career, you cherish these rivalries, cherish the moments.

"I apologize to those who saw it as disrespectful. For me, I thought it was a pretty cool gesture, exchanging my gloves with a fan and walking out with it. Obviously, getting a victory there was cool ... To have something in your basement to know what the rivalry is all about is pretty cool. I've been exchanging jerseys with guys. My basement is getting pretty colorful down there with other teams' stuff."

The fifth-year pro has seen his share of games in the NFL's best running rivalry and understands why the Steelers and their fans were upset with him having the towel.

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"The other side, they don't really like it, which I understand why like, 'Nobody plays with the Terrible Towel,' and I understand that," Rice said. "I respect this rivalry. I respect their organization. It's not like you're going to catch me on YouTube burning a Terrible Towel. I'll keep it in my basement, and when I get to grow up and my time is done, you get to look back on these moments: 'I got to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers.' This has actually been the first year I've started to collect other teams' stuff."

The one question unanswered: What fan traded away the precious towel to the enemy?

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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