As the 12 month anniversary of his original suspension approaches, Ray Rice continues to search for a second chance in the NFL.
To this point the controversial running back - banned after footage emerged showing him knocking out his then fiancee in a casino elevator - has failed to convince any team that he is worth the baggage that he would inevitably bring.
But, with the NFL season edging ever closer and certain teams struggling with their back field options, it looks like one AFC North team in particular has at least discussed relaxing their moral codes and signing Rice.
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Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine admitted yesterday that he and his staff - including Rice's former RB coach Wilbert Montgomery - have talked about brining in the former Baltimore Ravens star.
"Of course it's a natural question here because of Wilbert, and because I was with Ray when he was a Ravens rookie and know a lot of people in Baltimore," Pettine explained to Sports Illustrated.
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"Obviously Wilbert was his position coach for Ray's first six years in the league. I'm not going to say it didn't come up in discussion, but at this point we're not there yet."
The Browns have been less than impressed with their current running back corps in training camp so far, a point emphasised by critical comments this week, but whether Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West and Duke Johnson could find themselves with a high profile new teammate still seems unlikely.
Not there yet
Although Rice's name has come up in discussion Pettine isn't willing to admit the Browns have a need at running back just yet.
"I don’t think it’s gotten to that point, to say, ‘Hey, I’d kind of be comfortable with it,’” Pettine said.
“But I think it would get to that point if we arrived at it from a football standpoint, then asked that question. Instead of working the process backwards. Why bother with asking the question if the need never presents itself?”
Although it doesn't look like Ray Rice should be expecting a call from Cleveland any time soon, the comments do suggest that NFL teams are willing to at contemplate letting the running back's past sins slide if the on-field need becomes too drastic.
Browns fans: Would you be happy to see Ray Rice on your roster? Have your say in the comments below...
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