One of the biggest questions swirling around the NFL these days is “why hasn’t anyone signed Ray Rice?” After Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s latest comments, the answer seems pretty clear.
Apparently, McNair doesn’t believe any of his players would be keen on having Rice as a teammate.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, McNair took a couple of digs at the former Baltimore Ravens running back. First, he commented about how he didn’t think Rice would fit in the locker room.
“I think I’d want to talk with our players and I don’t know that that’s something that they would like,” McNair said, via ESPN.com. “We want people that fit in our locker room. As I said, it’s all about teamwork.”
So, apparently nobody wants to rub elbows with Rice, who was caught on camera brutalizing his then-fiancée with a knock-out blow in an elevator.
Taking things a bit further, McNair then wondered if Rice has any talents worth pursuing at all in the first place.
“And look, we’ve got four good running backs. I don’t know that he’s as good as any of the four we’ve got. I don’t see anybody else trying to sign him, so I think that’s a pretty good indication of where he stands.”
Whoa. Tell us what you really think, Mr. McNair.
The crazy part about his argument is that nobody really has any clue about how good Rice is, thanks to a the fact he hasn’t gotten any workouts this offseason. He might be in amazing shape, ready to take the NFL by storm after taking an entire year off.
Many point to his dismal 3.1 yards per carry average in 2013, but what nobody talks about is Rice had a hip injury that hindered him that year. Clearly the real issue here is that NFL players, coaches and owners are extremely adverse of bringing Rice into the locker room, thanks to his very public off-field sins.
Meanwhile, Houston’s running back situation is dire.
Arian Foster is expected to return for the second half of the season after suffering a groin injury. Behind him on the depth chart is Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk—neither of whom have any kind of proven track record.
Clearly, the Texans need the help at the running back position. Just as clear is the resounding message from the top down in Houston that Rice isn’t going to be the man to fix the problem.