It's one thing to be a toxic name whose mere signing of a contract would spark protests and lead to negative backlash that could potentially stain the name of an organization. It's another thing to be a toxic name whose mere signing of a contract would spark protests and lead to negative backlash that could potentially stain the name of an organization...and be coming off a season where you averaged 3.1 yards per carry. That's precisely the type of scarlet letter Ray Rice finds attached to himself, which is why many of us doubt that he'll ever muster another carry in the NFL.

But today, for the first time since knocking out his fiancee (now wife) in an elevator, Rice has received some "good" (or at least "mildly hopeful," which is about as good as he can wish for) news. That's because Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine indicated to Sports Illustrated that his team could have interest in Rice thanks to their current stable of shitty running backs.

When asked about the possibility of adding a veteran, Pettine said "We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we’re there at this point." He then pointed out that Rice could be a fit due to the fact that Cleveland's running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery taught Rice for six seasons whilst he was in the same coaching position in Baltimore. Still, Pettine added that the organization hasn't quite reached that level of desperation:

“Obviously Wilbert was his position coach for Ray’s first six years in the league (2008–13). I’m not going to say it didn’t come up in discussion, but at this point we’re not there yet.”

The questions arose after reports dropped two days ago indicating just how unimpressed the team is with their present running backs. Montgomery pointed out that some of the potential starters had created a "total setback" by not showing up in shape. He also passive-aggressively added that "Nobody wants the [starting] role."

It's unclear if the "interest" the team may have in Rice is simply an idle threat to get a better performance out of players currently in camp, or if it's indeed sincere. All we know is that a team that could potentially pair Johnny Manziel and Rice in the backfield is a team that's going to get a lot of press this fall. A lot. At least more a hundred times more than Josh McCown and Isaiah Crowell, who are currently listed as QB1 and RB1 on the team's depth chart.

[via Sports Illustrated, ESPN]

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