Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 5/12/12

The offseason gives players, coaches, writers, and fans alike an opportunity to step back and look at the big picture in the NFL. Sometimes, players don't step back far enough, and they wind up making statements like the Ravens' star running back, Ray Rice.

In comments published at BaltimoreRavens.com, Rice expressed that he'll not only be ready for the start of the season; he'll be ready to take the Ravens to the promise land.

"Training is something that I never worried about. My training has always been part of my routine. Nobody ever had to beat me in the head to work out. I actually have the burning to desire to come back, not only for myself, but to come back ready to play. When we get to the season, I’m going to do my job and bring a Super Bowl back to Baltimore."

There seems to be little doubt that Rice will be playing for the Ravens in 2012, despite ongoing contract negotiations. He's currently under the team's franchise tag, but he has not signed his franchise tender, choosing instead to workout on his own until contract negotiations are finalized. Still, I have to wonder if he's able to get the same kind of quality workouts on his own that he could be getting at the team's facilities. The threat of injury is also likely to climb without the constant supervision of trained professionals.

Here's my thought. Rice has already given up his leverage in contract negotiations. He's indicated he'll eventually sign, even if it's under the franchise tender. He should just go ahead and sign his one year contract in the hopes that the Ravens and his agent could come to a long-term agreement in the near future. In the meantime, Rice could be on the practice field and in the weight room with his teammates where he belongs. It's impossible to be a team leader from home, and Rice isn't exactly showing his desire to be with the Ravens long-term by working out at home on his own time.

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