Ray Rice, like most NFL players, is doing his best to prepare for a new season as the lockout bleeds deeper into its third month.
"I have a short memory. As a running back, you have to have a short memory," he said. "You look at where you came from and you look at where you're going and you can't tarnish your whole career over one mistake."
With the Ravens leading the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 early in the third quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Rice caught a short pass from Joe Flacco and was stripped of the ball while fighting for extra yards. The Steelers recovered the ball deep in Ravens territory, setting in motion a comeback that culminated in a 31-24 Pittsburgh win.
It was Rice's first fumble in 331 touches. He has obvious regrets about the play, but said the key is learning from it and getting better.
"It's the same thing for a quarterback. A quarterback throws an interception, he has to get over it the next drive," he said. "It wasn't one of those situations where you see me getting laid out. It was a situation where the guy ... it was a perfect tackle, and I was in a cut. Sometimes when you cut the ball comes away from your body."
Rice said the play has led to better focus on the basics of the game in offseason workouts.
"You get back to work on your fundamentals, this offseason I've been doing a lot of strengthening in my forearms so that way when I'm cutting the ball's tighter, securing," He said. "I got over it pretty fast."
Playing arguably football's most punishing position while standing a stout 5-foot-8 means Rice is more at risk physically than most if the league decides to move to an 18-game schedule. He seemed resigned to however things play out.
"For a guy like me, you really just want to play football but 18 games is a lot," Rice said. "It's hard on a body. It's one of those things where, if that's what they want, and they're going to get it, then I'm not going to fight it."