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Ray Rice 'optimistic' about Baltimore Ravens deal

The clock is ticking on a pair of premier running backs who have yet to sign their franchise tenders in hopes of sealing up long-term contracts.

We told you Friday that Matt Forte was planning to spend the weekend on the phone with the Chicago Bears in an effort to reach a multiyear deal before Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Ray Rice is in the same boat with the Baltimore Ravens. Unless the sides can work something out, Rice's only option is to play this season under the one-year, $7.742 million franchise tag. No deal appears imminent, but Rice remains hopeful.

"I'll always keep it real for you, but I'm always optimistic," Rice told the Carroll County Times. "God has put me in a position where not too many people can say they've been. I never played for the dollars and all of that other stuff."

The Ravens are hugged up against the salary cap and not expected to play ball with Rice. At a charity event Friday night, Rice jokingly advised the crowd to "call Ozzie Newsome and tell him to pay me."

Baltimore's general manager understands what Rice means to this team, but the Ravens haven't flinched. We'd be surprised if a deal happens, even if Rice -- as much as any player in the league -- deserves a second contract.

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