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Ravens RB Ray Rice apologizes, says he wasn't disrespecting Terrible Towel

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

The Ravens beat the Steelers on Sunday night, 13-10, giving them a two-game lead in the division and the inside track to a first-round playoff bye. As Baltimore running back Ray Rice made his way to the locker room after the game, he could be seen with a Terrible Towel over his head.

In general, it didn't seem particularly egregious or disrespectful. Still, Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley was prompted to send this warning tweet: (By the way, how soft have we gotten as a society? You think Mean Joe Greene would've sent "warning tweets" if Twitter existed 40 years ago? This is a rhetorical question.)

Quick refresher: Then-Titans running back LenDale White did this late in the 2008 season, and three years before that, former Bengals wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh thought this was a good idea.

In '08, Tennessee started 10-0, finished 13-3, and eventually lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Ravens. In '05, Cincinnati won the AFC North and hosted the Steelers in the wild card. Not only did they lose the game, they lost quarterback Carson Palmer to a serious knee injury.

Perhaps to avoid any bad Myron Cope mojo, Rice explained to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson that his motives weren't nefarious.

“I apologize to those who saw it as disrespectful," Rice said. "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," he continued. "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.”

Seems reasonable us.

The Steelers and Ravens will meet again in Week 13, and the biggest issue won't be how Rice treated a Terrible Towel but whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be healthy enough to play.

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

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