BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the first time since being reinstated, Ray Rice took time to talk with WJZ at the Toys For Tots event held at Jimmy’s Seafood in Dundalk.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on what the former Raven has to say and why sport marketing professionals say Rice is taking the right steps to repairing a tainted image.

Ray Rice is ready to move forward from that unfortunate incident that cost him his spot on the Ravens roster. He said while there are those who still criticize him for that night in Atlantic City, it won’t stop him from giving back.

Ray Rice is all smiles as he hits the dance floor with his daughter, Rayven.

“Rayven let me answer the question,” Rice said.

Rice, his friend and former teammate, Torrey Smith are helping Jimmy’s Seafood in Dundalk collect thousands of Toys for families who are in need.

“Just because I am not on the football field doesn’t mean I can’t touch lives and help others,” Rice said.

This is Rice’s first time speaking to WJZ since being reinstated to the NFL.

“It does feel good to be out and amongst the Baltimore community just to give back,” Rice said. “That’s always going to be in my heart.”

Rice’s fall from glory started in February after he was caught punching his then fiancé, Janay Rice, in a casino elevator.

“I made a horrible mistake in my life, but if you truly believe in second chance they will forgive me,” Rice said.

Sports marketing professors said it’s not only important for Ray Rice to rebuild his image for himself, but also for the NFL.

“I think the NFL will say we are not going to sweep any one else under the bust and this is a lesson for everybody that comes behind him,” Dr. Dennis Pitta. “We don’t do this.”

Dr. Pitta says Rice is taking the necessary steps, admitting he was wrong, apologizing and seeking help.

“He’s a good guy, he made a terrible mistake and he is overcoming it,” Dr. Pitta said.

Rice said it has been a touch journey, but with the support of loyal fans, former teammates and friends, the road to redemption is smoother.

“It’s a warm welcome just know there are people out there that still support,” Rice said.

Rice said he may not wear the #27 jersey anymore, but the team and the city will always be a part of who he is.

“Baltimore you know I will always love you and will be here for life,” Rice said.

Rice was reinstated to the NFL after winning his appeal against an indefinite suspension.

Rice did not make any mention of any interested teams.

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