ESPN.com is unveiling its "Any Era" team this week which features 20 current players with the toughness to play in any period of NFL history. The team was assembled by votes from 20 Hall of Fame players (here's a full explanation of the project).
Coming in at No. 14 on the Any Era Team is Ravens running back Ray Rice. He fits in the modern era with his do-it-all style, but his ability to run low to the ground and break tackles would allow him to excel in any era.
Here are explanations from three Hall of Fame players on why Reed made the cut:
DARRELL GREEN: “Ray Rice is tough, hard-nosed and durable. I think he does an exceptional job not only in running the ball but in blocking. He’s not the biggest guy out there but he’s willing to block anyone. He reminds you of Brian Westbrook. He’s one of these pint-sized guys who is really an absolute ball of dynamite, kind of like Brian Mitchell was when I played with the Redskins.”
RAYFIELD WRIGHT: “I could see Ray Rice playing in the 1970s when I was in the league. You look at Rice run and he is the combination of Tony Dorsett and guys like him from that era. His vision is unbelievable. He is super tough. He can get tough when he has to. He shows speed and quickness and is able to adjust. Plus, he picks up blitzes good when he has to block.”
JOE NAMATH: “The vigor it takes to play running back is remarkable, especially when you think about how the average career for an NFL running back is 2.5 years. Larry Csonka is kind of the perfect example of toughness at the running back position, and when I think about guys like that today, it’s Ray Rice that comes to mind immediately. I marvel at him.”
Rice is the first AFC North player to make the list, but there are more division players to come. The AFC North blog will post every time a division player makes the Any Era Team.