By Jessica Kartalija

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)–Ravens running back Ray Rice says a good breakfast helps him play harder, and he has a Super Bowl ring to prove it.

Jessica Kartalija explains the world champion is giving some powerful advice in an effort to improve student performance.

If you’re going to go out and score touchdowns, you’d better start with a good breakfast.

In an important message to hundreds of students, Rice says he gets up early and has a protein shake before he heads off to practice.

The world champ and fan favorite made a grand entrance at Hilltop Elementary in Glen Burnie.

“If I don’t eat breakfast, things just don’t go right,” Rice said.

He gives out a generous helping of advice.

“If I didn’t eat breakfast in my meetings, I might miss protection and miss something that probably could cost us a game,” Rice said.

Three out of five Maryland teachers say some of their students come to school hungry.

As part of the Maryland Meals for Achievement Program, Anne Arundel County Public Schools serve 17,000 breakfast meals daily.

MMFA is a program that serves free breakfast in the classroom, regardless of family income.

“We continue to encourage our students to eat healthy, play hard, do a lot of physical activity and have fun,” said Jodi Risse, Anne Arundel County Schools.

“I wake up early. I wake up about 6:30, make my shake and I walk my dog,” Rice said.

With the help of a football superstar, students are getting the message.

“Without breakfast, you can’t concentrate in school and without concentrating, you can’t get anywhere with your grades,” one student said.

Rice also shares tips to help get students moving as part of the NFL Play 60 campaign.

“Being able to tell them about the importance of eating breakfast really means a lot to me because these kids have the ability to be the greatest individuals on the Earth, and for me to give them a little bit of  encouragement really means a lot,” Rice said.

Rice says he wishes there were programs like this when he was growing up.

He says he feels fortunate to be able to give back.

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