Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice said he loves fried chicken, but only eats it about twice a year.
The Pro Bowler told students at the Old Mill complex Thursday that he cut out nearly all junk food once he realized he needed to get his body in shape for the National Football League (NFL).
“I had to stop with the fried foods, stop putting junk in my body, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to play at a high level,” he said.
Rice spent the morning with members of the Old Mill High School football team—the defending Class 4A champs—and then helped lead students from Old Mill Middle School North in a series of activities in the gymnasium.
He was there on behalf of the NFL Play 60 program, which encourages kids to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. His appearance was also organized with support from the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association.
Rice, who stands about 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds, said he spent most of Wednesday running up hills while wearing a weighted vest. He said he learned early on that achieving dreams is possible, but only if you work hard and make the right choices.
“Dreams will come true—if you have everything else in order,” he said.
For Rice, that process included getting good enough grades to play football at Rutgers University, and to avoid some of the legal troubles that felled some of his friends growing up in New Rochelle, NY. It also meant overcoming the loss of his father as an infant, and the death of his cousin who helped raise him.
“Adversity is going to strike you,” he said. “You all have the same opportunity to have the same chance I had, to not only be good, but great and have amazing things happen in your life.”
Rice noted that he didn't play in an NFL stadium until he turned pro, but that the Old Mill team played in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium during last year's championship game.
"You guys are spoiled," he joked.