According to Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report, the recent arrest of former Bears DE Ray McDonald for domestic violence will further discourage NFL teams from signing a guy like Ray Rice, who has also had serious off-the-field issues.
Two team executives told Cole Monday night that they have no plans to take a similar risk on a player like the Bears did with McDonald and end up being embarrassed if something were to happen.
Cole mentions that there is another other issue from the NFL’s perspective in regards to teams signing players who have had serious off-the-field issues in the past, which is whether or not there’s adequate punishment for players who continue to be involved in serious incidents away from the field of play.
According to Cole, there’s talk around the league that the NFL could consider the idea of taking away draft picks from teams that sign players with a checkered past who end up being involved in another incident.
There has been no buzz regarding Rice returning to the NFL in recent months, so it’s not as though his prospects have significantly changed following McDonald’s arrest.
Rice previously said that he’s “optimistic” that he’ll get another shot at playing the NFL, even after all that has transpired in the past year.
“I’m optimistic that I’ll get a second chance,” Rice said told the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t think this boils down to whether I can play football or not. Obviously I know that. I just think there’s so much more that comes with it. I know the PR side of it will be tough. I understand that.”
Rice wound up sitting out the entire 2014 season after the Ravens cut him loose shortly after the the security video that shows Rice knocking out his then-fiancee, Janay, was released.
Rice, 28, last appeared in an NFL game back in 2013 when he ran for 660 yards on 214 carries (3.1 YPC) to go along with 58 receptions for 321 yards receiving and four total touchdowns.
It’s worth mentioning that Rice dealt with a hip injury that year, which could explain his dip in production. However, Pro Football Focus still had him rated as the worst qualifying running back in the league that year.