BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Back in the public eye. After almost a year of scandal, former Raven Ray Rice made his first appearance at a public charity event. He hasn’t attended any local community events since that infamous video of him punching his now-wife inside an elevator was posted online.
Christie Ileto spoke to Ray Rice.READ MORE: Baltimore Mayor, Maryland Governor Clash After Hogan Says City Getting More Vaccines Than ‘Entitled To’ In Response To WJZ Question
He’s no longer on the roster but to fans, he’s still a Baltimore Raven. Former running back Ray Rice is back in the spotlight. This time he and friend Torrey Smith helped collect toys for families who may not otherwise have a Christmas.
Dundalk staple Jimmy’s is one of Rice’s first public engagements.
“I’ve been back out but coming to Jimmy’s and Toys For Tots, this is the best time to give back,” Rice said. “It’s a warm welcome just to know that there are still people out there who still do support.”
It was February when an altercation caught on tape ultimately got him indefinitely suspended and released from the team in September. Following months of turmoil, he was reinstated into the NFL but is waiting to get signed.
“I made a horrible mistake in my life but if you truly believe in second chances, they will forgive me,” Rice said. “I think all the fans have looked deep into who I am.”READ MORE: West Baltimore Native, Descendent Of Slaves On Last US-Bound Ship From Africa, Shares Family's Legacy
“This is his third year doing it with us,” said John Minadakis. “Baltimore is always going to be his home.”
Minadakis says Rice and Smith are the event’s biggest supporters.
“We’re raising over 1,000-something toys and we give a lot of them to the Marines and the Marines distribute them,” he said.
Droves of Baltimore families flocked to see Rice, Smith and Santa.
“It does feel good to be out and amongst the Baltimore community and just to give back,” Rice said.
There is still an investigation into the league’s handling of Rice’s suspension. Investigators have obtained phone and email records from nearly 500 employees at NFL headquarters.MORE NEWS: 'Change Is Necessary': Police Reform Bills Pass Committee Hurdle In Maryland Senate
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