BALTIMORE (AP) — After a delightful summer in which he carried the ball only 10 times in the preseason, Ray Rice is ready for some Monday Night football.
"It's sort of like that refreshing feeling, like the first day of school when you want to wear your new clothes," the Baltimore Ravens running back said. "That's what Monday night is. You put on your best outfit and you're ready to go. It's obviously a great feeling, because you know what Monday night is. A lot of great players are made on Monday night. Those are the ones that are remembered."
Many of those prime-time stars can thank Art Modell for the opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage. Modell, the former majority owner of the Ravens and a man instrumental in making Monday night football a fixture in America, died on Thursday.
How fitting that Baltimore's first game since his death is on Monday night, against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"It's an amazing twist," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I would say a providential irony, you know? Maybe they are laughing about that up there right now. But Art Modell is a giant. He did pioneer Monday night football."
The Ravens will have a moment of silence before the game, and if linebacker Ray Lewis has his say, the players will draw from Modell's spirit long after the opening kickoff.
"I think Ray and some of the guys that have been around him will get the message across to a lot of the players on this team," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "This whole organization had a lot of love for him, and I think that will definitely show."
A year ago, Baltimore swept the Bengals behind the running of Rice. It's quite clear that Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis hasn't forgotten.
Reminded that Rice had a few long runs against the Bengals last year, Lewis interrupted the question and said: "59, 51 and 70."
His memory was sound. The 59-yarder came in the first game between AFC North rivals, a 31-24 duel. The other two lengthy touchdown runs were part of a 191-yard rushing performance in Cincinnati that carried Baltimore to a 24-16 victory in the season finale.
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