Baltimore Ravens running back and two-time Pro Bowler Ray Rice brought his signature youth football camp to Baltimore. He calls it “Ray Rice Day.” The event (usually held in Ray’s hometown of New Rochelle, NY) was held on May 12, 2012 at Calvert Hall in Towson, MD and was a huge success. The event was a day of football, fun and inspiration. Approximately 700 boys and girls took the field to learn from players such as Vonta Leach, Torrey Smith, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Allen, Michael Oher, Cary Williams, and former Raven and Super Bowl winning LB Brad Jackson. The kids also learned from professional coaches, members of the Towson high school football team, and even Ray Rice himself. The camp was open to children ages 7-14. Registration opened April 12, 2012 and the spots were filled in 48 seconds.
Before kicking off the camp, Ray grabbed the microphone and addressed the crowd. He thanked the parents and provided some inspiring words to the kids. Ray also told everyone that he would do his best to bring a Super Bowl back to Baltimore. Check out his kickoff speech…..
Ray also took some time to address the media regarding the meaning behind Ray Rice day, his offseason training and the addition of Bernard Pierce, the Ravens new running back.
“My name is attached to it. But, Ray Rice Day is really about the community and people coming together for one cause, and that’s for the kids to be happy” Rice said. “I want them to have fun. But, at the end of the day, I want them to leave here knowing that they are all winners.”
Ray says the lockout last year made him realize that he was going to have to work out on his own and he came back in the best shape of his life . “Training was something that I never worried about, it’s something that you got to want” Rice said. “I actually have the burning to desire to come back, not only for myself, but to come back ready to play, My training has always been part of my routine. Nobody ever had to beat me in the head to get up and work out. Anybody who knows about my workout regimen, I’ve probably been through two before noon. Training has never been my issue but obviously, the team camaraderie, the lockout and all that stuff, that’s the stuff that you kind of miss with the guys. But as far as being ready, I know I’ll be ready.”
Rice also said that he welcomes the addition of Temple running back Bernard Pierce, whom the Ravens selected in the third round of this year’s draft.
“One thing I know about the NFL, I’ve always said that one back really can’t do it all no more. I’d love for a guy to give me a spell or give me a breather. I was genuine and I was serious about saying that Ricky Williams was the best thing to happen to me last year because this is the healthiest I’ve been. Quite frankly, going into my fifth season, this is the best I’ve ever felt,” Rice said.
“You’ve got a guy that wants to take the load off you, you don’t get too many of those guys. But he is a rookie. He’s got some ways to go. I won’t mind letting him in there and letting him get some banging in. We have some great backs, Anthony Allen and Damien Berry, so there’s going to be some nice competition going on there. One thing I build with the group is … a camaraderie. I tell them, ‘Listen, we have a long season. Take care of your bodies right now, don’t abuse it and get ready for a long season.”
When he was done with all of the questions, Ray took the field to have some fun and teach fundamentals. The kids were broken into groups by age and he made it a point to join every group at least once. There were also two fields, one for the older kids and one for the younger ones. Ray was all over both of them, overseeing drills and giving advice on how to properly hold and run with the football. He even had the kids out there doing push-ups. The highlight of the day was Ray signing his cleats and giving two fans one apiece.
Ray Rice Day was a pleasant reminder that under all those pads, athletes are people too. In the midst of contract negotiations, Ray set aside a day to mentor young people which makes it easy to see why he’s a fan favorite.