Ray Rice speaks on Kareem Hunt, reflects on own actions

Ray Rice read about the situation surrounding now-former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. He saw the video and thought the same thing everyone else did.

"You look back at it and obviously you see some similarities between what happened in my situation," Rice said Saturday in an exclusive interview with NFL.com. "I'm never going to call myself an expert. I've [publicly] discussed the remorse I have for survivors of domestic violence, but knowing what I know now the top priority is learning that it comes down to those split-second decisions, which come at the most hostile times. And that's where this could be a teaching tool."

Rice went on to say he'd be willing to speak with Hunt if Hunt would discuss his issues that led to that horrific moment.

"Peer-to-peer, I would definitely try to help him figure out, 'How can we start dealing with the underlying problems in your life?'" Rice said. "Because he has a long life to live, this will be a defining moment, but it shouldn't be the moment that defines you. For me, I just see you have a long life to live and that doesn't mean just playing football -- you need to just live one day at a time."

The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind, beginning when TMZ unveiled a video showing Hunt assault a female by shoving and kicking despite denying it previously to the team. He was placed on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List, then put on waivers. Rice, who was indefinitely suspended and released in 2014 for punching his now-wife Janay in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice never played again.

Since then, Rice has taken ownership of his life. The reality quickly set in for Rice that he has a wife and two children. While noting that his wife is independent and he doesn't speak for her -- Rice said, "We both found out who we were and what our future is going to be."

He feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders by not being in the NFL spotlight. And he's dedicating himself to making sure others make better decisions than he did.

He's spoken to football teams at Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Notre Dame and several other top schools. He spoke at the Big 12 Seminar and the NFL Players Association rookie program. He's appeared in front of the Bucs, Raiders and yes, the Ravens.

He's worked with and learned from organizations like A Call to Men and the Childhood Domestic Violence Association.

"You can check my body of work," Rice said. "The most humbling piece for me is peer-to-peer, being able to speak to colleges and different teams and give them my life story without making excuses."

What would Rice tell Hunt, if he could, right before Hunt made the first aggressive move toward the woman in the video?

"In that moment right there, you go back and you think about your own self," Rice said. "First, I would look at the situation and say, 'How did I even get in that moment, because whatever what was done in that moment, something transpired before it even got there. And honestly, while I don't know if alcohol or any substances were involved, I know those things can often play a role. I am not blaming anyone who was with him, but I wish someone that was with him, if he's not in his right mind ... would've said to him, 'Look at the situation. Is it worth risking it all for a split-second decision -- for something you know you can get out of?'"

Rice continued, referencing his own experience.

"And I say that to myself. I just look at the situation and say, 'Your life wasn't being threatened.' So, if there was just words, you can back out of that situation -- so somewhere there's got to [show] some strength to deal with that properly. It is hard to practice what to do in the most intense moments and about making those split-second decisions. I have taken a deeper look at my own life -- and I think what was his upbringing like? That's just how I look at it. I know my upbringing wasn't perfect. And I know that's where I masked a lot of my problems."

Rice hopes he can speak to Hunt. He also hopes he can speak to others. Eventually, Rice wants to expand his work, possibly even with the NFL, to help as many people as he can.

"For me, it's like, you got to put in the work and you got to get a real response and make a connection," Rice said. "I see teams are hiring sports psychologists -- and I don't have a formal degree for this -- but after my experiences, I know that my peers in the NFL need peers that have been through things and know how to see and present what the other side looks like. I have bounced my life story off players at different levels over the years. I try to share things and make my experience relatable. They want to know and ask me, 'How did you get in the positive mental state that you are in now?' But wasn't always like this for me. It used to always be about the game. But now I just want to be supporting other people and I would love a platform that expands on just helping other players understand the long view of their lives and what it's supposed to look like -- and it is about having a proper balance.

"I have seen great examples of guys who got this right. When I was playing, Anquan Boldin was the greatest example of what it can look like to love football and love your family. There are great examples out there on how to do it. It's not going to apply to everybody, but I know I am playing a role and want to continue in a way where I can best help the most people."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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