Could Ray Rice’s past prevent Ravens from selecting Oklahoma running back?


The Ravens would like to add an explosive playmaker to their offense. While they are pleased with the downto- down production of Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon, a home run threat in the backfield would be a welcome addition.

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon can gain chunks of yards in a hurry. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry last season as well as 14.5 yards per reception.

Typically a player of Mixon’s caliber warrants early round consideration. Unfortunately, Mixon has some extra baggage after a domestic violence incident was caught on video.

Bringing on a player tied to domestic violence could be a polarizing decision for the Ravens based on their previous experience with Ray Rice. Head Coach John Harbaugh was recently asked how the past could have an impact on their decision to select Mixon.

“We learned a lot in that whole process,” Harbaugh said at the Combine last week. “As I’ve said in the past, that was not something I had very much understanding about at all and through

that whole experience, I learned a lot. “A lot of people did, including the two people that were most involved in it. They’re still very good friends. As an organization, I think that’s moved us in a

certain direction that Steve has talked about. And I definitely respect that and agree with it.”

There has been a high degree of public backlash to the Mixon incident. The NFL even passed a new rule that disqualified select prospects including Mixon from being able to attend the

Scouting Combine.

Mixon met with four teams before his pro day. The Ravens weren’t one of those teams, but that doesn’t mean they won’t meet with him in the future.

“Our job as a coach, or a scouting staff, is to turn over every stone, to find out everything we can about every single guy,” Harbaugh explained. “Whenever you make a personnel decision,

probably in any part of life, you’re making a prediction. It’s a choice going forward.”

Harbaugh has spoken before about not being overly judgemental. He has also been a big advocate for giving people a second chance.

He deserves credit for diving beneath the surface and working to get an understanding of what makes the particular person tick. For Harbaugh, getting to know someone is a better way of evaluating as opposed to having past incidents dictate his opinion.

“What’s someone has done in the past helps you predict the future to some degree,” Harbaugh said. “You have to dig deeper than that. That’s what we try to do character wise— we try to figure out who this person is going to be for the next four years, and if it’s someone that fits our vision for what we want to be as an organization and football team.

“What’s this person going to become? What are they going to fulfill? What are their dreams and aspirations? What do they hold to be valuable? What are their values? The past is a little bit of a determiner of that.”