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Ray Rice 'optimistic' on contract talks with Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice said he's "optimistic" about agreeing to a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens before Monday's deadline. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ray Rice said Friday that he's "always optimistic" about agreeing to a long-term contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens that would take the franchise-tag label off the star running back, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec reported.

“I’m always optimistic,” Rice said while playing host to ”A Ray of Hope,” an anti-bullying teen suicide outreach event at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. “God has put me in a position where not too many people can say they’ve been. I never played for the dollars and all of that other stuff. My rookie contract, quite frankly, you just signed it and go play football so this is a little bit difference of an experience for me.”

Zrebiec noted, though, that there have been no reports of progress between Rice and the Ravens on an extension. The deadline for teams to sign franchise players to a long-term contract is Monday at 4 p.m. ET. If Rice doesn't agree to an extension, he will be forced to play under the one-year franchise tender of $7.7 million.

The 25-year-old Rice has become one of the best running backs in the NFL during his four years in the league. Last season, he rushed for 1,364 yards on 293 carries — a 4.7 yards-per-carry average. He added 704 receiving yards, and he had 15 total touchdowns.

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