On The Steelers: William Gay wants to help Ray Rice
September 8, 2014 11:15 PM
William Gay speaks to the media today about the Ray Rice domestic violence situation.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers will not have to confront former Ravens halfback Ray Rice when they play Thursday night in Baltimore. One of them, though, plans to do just that.
Cornerback William Gay, whose mother was shot and killed in an act of domestic violence, said he will reach out to Rice, whom the Ravens released Monday after a video showed him knocking out his fiancee with a punch in an elevator earlier this year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Rice for the first two games of the season without pay and docked him a third game check after a previous video showed Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer, now his wife, out of an elevator at a hotel casino Feb. 15 in Atlantic City. Monday afternoon, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.
A grand jury indicted Rice on third-degree aggravated assault but prosecutors agreed to allow him to enter an intervention program, which if he completes the charges will be dropped.
The new video, taken inside the elevator, was posted Monday by TMZ. It shows Rice punching Palmer in the face. She then fell to the floor apparently knocked out.
“It was very disturbing,” said Gay, who said he was 7 when his mother was killed by his stepfather.
Gay, speaking in the locker room before the Ravens announced they had released Rice, said he did not care what punishment the NFL or the Ravens might issue, he was more concerned about helping Rice.
“I’m going to reach out [to Rice]. I love trying to prevent domestic violence. I’m going to reach out in any type of way just to give him a talk and let him know on my end, how it hurt me, how it changed my life.”
Gay was raised by his grandmother after his mother was killed. This is his eighth season in the NFL, seventh with the Steelers, who drafted him in the fifth round from Louisville in 2007. He grew up in Tallahassee, Fla.
He has worked for and supported the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and spoke to them about his experiences.
“It’s painful to watch it. To see a woman get hit like that is just painful. You can’t watch it too many times. I just watched it once and couldn’t look at it anymore.”
“Even when I came into the league, not too many people knew about it,” Gay said of the circumstances of his mother’s death. “But by me talking about it, me getting involved with different women’s groups about domestic violence, it helped me grow as a person. It can help others as it helped me.”
He would like to convey that to Rice, who was Baltimore’s star running back with 6,180 yards rushing over the previous six seasons. Rice, a New York native, played at Rutgers University.
“Someone could have died, that’s all,” Gay said. “That’s how I feel about the situation, so we need to do everything we can to help Ray Rice. Because we don’t need to run away from him and say he’s evil. It’s an issue, we need to deal with it, and we need to help Ray Rice and his [wife] to be better from it.”
Short week, big tasks
The Steelers gathered at the team’s facility Monday for meetings but did not practice. They will practice today and again Wednesday morning before they travel that afternoon to Baltimore for the game Thursday night.
Without Rice at halfback, the Ravens use Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett in a 23-16 loss Sunday at home against Cincinnati. Forsett ran for 70 yards and a 6.4-yard average. Pierce had 14 yards on six carries.
“Pierce is a bruising second-year runner and a guy that we saw last year,” Tomlin said. “He played quite a bit of football for them in the past. We expect him to play a significant role in the game Thursday night. Forsett is a savvy veteran guy that they acquired. He’s been around the NFL for some time. He has a very efficient, no-nonsense game. He is good in the running game and good in the passing game.”
The Cleveland Browns gouged the Steelers on the ground Sunday, especially in the second half. Veteran Ben Tate ran for 41 yards on six carries before he left with an injury and they turned things over to a couple of rookies.
Terrance West, from Towson University, ran for 100 yards and a 6.3-yard average. Undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell of Alabama State ran for two touchdowns.
The Browns ran for 183 yards and a 6.1 average against the Steelers.
Once, the Steelers defense was the best in the NFL at stopping the run. They consistently ranked No. 1, 2 or 3 for a decade and No. 2 as recently as 2012. Last year, they slipped to No. 21. After one game, they reside near the bottom.