Not very often do you hear an athlete in the prime of his career and at the top of his game (or not at the top of his game, depending on your view) discuss retirement from pro sports before they actually have to.
Ravens running back Ray Rice brought that to light today, admitting in a conference call with media members that he’s thought about the possibility of retiring from the NFL at age 30.
“It’s always something to think about at the running back position”, Rice told reporters via Tom Curran of csnne.com.
Rice at 26 years old will turn 27 in January and is right smack dab in the middle of a five-year, $40 million dollar contract he signed in July of 2012.
Rice went on to add:
“I’ll just put it out there – my goal was to make it 10 years in the NFL. Anything after 10, if I can’t do it the way I want to, then it’s something to think about. But, I’m young. I came in the NFL at 21 years old, a young guy. So, I’m still young; I’m only going to be 27 in January. So, there’s a lot of football left to be played. With that being said, I have priorities too. You know I have a young daughter, and you’ve just got to put all that in perspective when you’re going out there week-in and week-out, especially when you get older in your career.”
It’s a situation where you can’t blame a professional athlete for thinking and planning ahead. Far too often now, we’ve seen cases of professional athletes suffering from the tolls they put their bodies through, both physically and mentally.
Rice, who has rushed for just 605 yards this season after a string of four straight 1,000 yard seasons, has started 78 games for the Ravens in six seasons. Couple that with the workload he had in college at Rutgers University, and maybe this is something Rice has had in the back of his mind for sometime.
For Rice, he’s taking the proactive approach and could ride off into the sunset, much like former Detroit Lions RB Barry Sanders once did – at the top of his profession. The one difference is, Ray Rice has a Super Bowl ring.
With his mind in the right place now, that can set Rice up for future endeavors outside of football or within football should he do so.