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Ravens RB Ray Rice 'optimistic' about new long-term contract

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Rice is upbeat about a new deal. (US PRESSWIRE)

Way back in October, running back Ray Rice told CBSSports.com that "I think the Ravens are going to do the right thing … with the contract situation, I'll leave it in their hands," Nine months and one franchise tag later, Rice still sounds upbeat that the two sides can reach an agreement before Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline or he'll have to play for $7.7 million as the team's franchise player.

“I'm always optimistic,” Rice told the Baltimore Sun while hosting an anti-bullying teen suicide outreach event in Columbia, Md. “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.”

Rice isn't alone as a franchise player looking for a new deal and he's one of five players -- along with Dwayne Bowe, Cliff Avril, Matt Forte and Dashon Goldson -- who have neither signed their tender nor a new long-term contract.

Meanwhile, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Raiders safety Tyvon Branch inked multi-year deals over the weekend. And while not every franchise player will get what they want by Monday afternoon (see Avril and the Cowboys' Anthony Spencer, for example), CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora thinks Rice is in good shape.

Earlier this month La Canfora wrote that "Things never got close to acrimonious, unlike the Forte situation, and the history of this organization would indicate a strong willingness to tie up their best young talent long-term. Rice is a weapon in the pass game, like Forte, and Baltimore also knows it may need that franchise tag for quarterback Joe Flacco next year, which puts a premium on getting Rice done now."

The Ravens and Rice have less than 48 hours to make that happen.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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