The Baltimore Ravens running back was photographed after his team’s 13-10 win over the Steelers last week with a Terrible Towel draped over his head. The Terrible Towels are waved by Steelers fans during games, and they’re considered a key accessory for the team’s supporters.
“I actually asked a fan to trade like I’ve been trading jerseys with guys at the end of the game,” Rice said this week, per The Baltimore Sun. “So, I didn’t stomp it or do anything wrong. I actually walked out with it and I think I’m going to save it and put it in my basement to cherish the rivalry. It’s not like you get out there and do derogatory stuff and spit, no none of that stuff. If you think about it, where I’m at in my career, you cherish these rivalries, cherish the moments.
“I apologize to those who saw it as disrespectful. For me, I thought it was a pretty cool gesture, exchanging my gloves with a fan and walking out with it. Obviously, getting a victory there was cool and I leave it in the past. Their fans are great, the organization is great and the rivalry is always going to continue to be great. To have something in your basement to know what the rivalry is all about is pretty cool I’ve been exchanging jerseys with guys. My basement is geting pretty colorful down there with other teams’ stuff. [Having the towel was] not maliciously, just more out of respect.”
Rice also said he understood why the Steelers could have been upset, acknowledging that they may have been upset with him simply having one or messing with it. But he continued to clarify that he got it as a collector’s item and that he respects it.
Rice’s clarification should be enough to ingratiate him with Steelers fans, but when it comes to players like Woodley who will use anything for motivation on the field, the words may be meaningless.
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