Ravens' Ray Rice still a NFL top running back?

This has been the most horrible season Ray Rice has ever seen since his rookie season. Rice is a 6 year veteran and since his rookie season he has enjoyed over a 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Actually he has rushed for over a 1,000 yards for the past five years. He has rarely turned the ball over and has been very durable as well playing all 16 games for the past five years. This year however he has been hampered by injuries and has struggled on the field. When he has been on the field he has been ineffective. This season he has rushed for only 645 yards on a 3.1 yard per carry average. Seeing Rice struggle has been one of the reasons Baltimore has struggled to the record they have. Even though they are sitting above .500 it has been a struggle every step of the way. They also just lost their AFC North crown to the Cincinnati Bengals, after last year winning the conference and enjoying a Super Bowl as well.

Many people don't feel like a running back has any longevity in the NFL. Which we have seen from players like Barry Sanders and Clinton Portis. Then ever so often we get a running back like Steven Jackson, who has lost his step but can still run the ball with the best of them. It has been tough for any back to stay healthy because they are guaranteed to get hit whenever they touch the ball. Most backs aren't that big either so they are more than likely to get crushed. Even some of the tougher backs like Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch has gone out of the game as well.

Rice was asked if he has lost a step, he vows to come back better than ever... (Baltimore Sun).
"It’s life," Rice said. "From a personal standpoint understanding that I played through a lot this year. For me to get back out there and just battle and not worry about what I have to do statistically and coming out week in and week out. Statistically, I put all that stuff aside. But personally, I’m glad I was able to overcome some things. I’ve had a platform NFL career and everything has been great.
He goes on...
"Even for some of the people to say you lost a step, it’s different when you have an injury that controls things that you’re normally good at doing. I had to battle that this year but needless to say, I still have to focus on this year and finishing out this year as strong as I can, and next year will be next year. I’ll make sure I’ll come back in the best shape, bigger, faster, stronger, whatever you want to call that stuff, to prove myself again that I’ll still be a premier running back in the NFL."
Even though Rice has only missed one game due to a hip injury, he has been banged up all season and admits that it has played a part in his performance. Rice is a very talented dual threat running back, its pretty bold to say that he wouldn't come back from this. I will say however that he isn't getting any younger and once injuries start they are hard to stop getting especially when you age. Rice is a very good player and a stand up guy off the field. When healthy he is a top back in the NFL, Baltimore just needs to make sure they are careful with him from here on out.

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