Okay, so Le’Veon Bell is essentially the only running back the Steelers have who’s worth anything. Dri Archer is… not a running back, and Josh Harris exists but that’s about as far as it goes.
Halfback is a position that demands depth. Ben Roethlisberger already voiced his concerns that Bell is going to hit a wall, but if the team wants to have a consistent running game, they might not be able to rely on Archer and Harris.
This was all fine and dandy when LeGarrette Blount was here and not being a butt, but now the Steelers are one twisted ankle away from one-dimensional.
The awkward part is that there is at least one notable running back on the market right now, one who is fresh and rested, one who has played well against the Steelers before.
Ray Rice is available. He’s not the player he was two or three years ago, but he’s still probably starting-caliber and would certainly add to a committee of backs. He could be the change of pace the Steelers lost when Blount took his football and ran home, but it just isn’t that simple. It’s never that simple.
I believe that Ray Rice is a bad person. Popular sentiment among people who give football players a lot more slack than I’m willing to is that Rice made a mistake and should be given a second chance. I don’t see it that way. Ray Rice is more than just a woman-beater now, as if that weren’t reason enough. Ray Rice is a symbol. Rice is a symbol the entitlement football players experience, a symbol of that which is wrong with football culture.
There’s no actual reason to believe the Steelers are somehow holier than other franchises when it comes to player conduct. They wouldn’t have a problem signing a guy with a DUI or domestic violence allegation.
But I would have a problem if they signed Ray Rice. I think any team that gives him a shot at this point tarnishes their own name, and I don’t want to see the Steelers do that. I want to see the Steelers win football games, but I don’t want to cheer for someone like Rice.
Of course, regardless of how you feel about him off the field, he may be able to contribute on the field. And this is a football culture, where only one thing really matters.
And it isn’t whether you’re a good guy or not.