Considering the Bengals’ selection of running back Joe Mixon in the second round of the 2017 draft, it’s no surprise he’s been linked with Ray Rice so quickly. But the link between Rice and Mixon surprisingly isn’t a jab. In fact, it’s an unconventional suggestion, made from a veteran NFL scout.
Thought the Bengals did really well, but I will echo what one coach told me about Joe Mixon: You better have a plan for him in place the minute he walks into the building—and it better be a plan not just for one year but for each year he plays for you.
Great Mixonian idea from a veteran scout: “I’d hire Ray Rice as a consultant if I were the Bengals and let him mentor Mixon.”
Hiring Rice as a consultant to mentor Mixon is a wild idea at first glance. But considering what’s happened with the former Baltimore Ravens running back since his release, it might not be such a bad idea.
Rice, whose reputation among NFL fans centers around a video of him knocking his wife out in an elevator years ago, has been doing everything he’s able to do in order to not only change his reputation as a person but also to make things right and enact social change.
Per ESPN’s Jane McManus, “Rice has told his story to the football teams at Ohio State, USC, Rutgers and numerous high schools — his mistakes, his lessons learned. That's Rice's job now, albeit unpaid. His penance is using his most regrettable moment as his path forward.”
Rice hasn’t just talked the talk. He’s walked the walk, as well.
"He's been committed to ensuring young people don't make the same mistake that he did," NFL vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson said in that same McManus column, "and most critically, not seeing what happened on that video as an isolated incident. And understanding what domestic violence is and being able to talk to that. That's critical to seeing his learning and accountability.”
Isaacson went to Rutgers to listen to Rice speak, eventually offering him a chance to discuss his personal experience in a video that would “be a part of the league’s presentation to players and staff every year, instructing them on conduct expectations.”
Rice has even spoken specifically of the newest Bengals running back, expressing his being open to sharing his experience directly with Mixon.
"I really hope the kid has exhausted all his resources to really, to really understand what this issue is," Rice said of Mixon in another McManus report. "I would not be opposed to telling him my story, but he'll get a chance to see it."
The veteran NFL scout mentioned in King’s column wasn’t the only person to suggest the idea. ESPN’s Herm Edwards also suggested as much in a Saturday draft show on ESPN 1300, saying he thought Marvin Lewis would’ve hired Rice by the time Mixon was selected.
He may still be a controversial figure among NFL fans and the media, but Rice appears like he’d be a great candidate to mentor the young Bengals running back. This idea certainly isn’t as crazy as it sounds at first.