Rashee Rice didn't seem to learn from others' mistakes, maybe others will learn from Rice

Nov. 2, 2021 wasn't that long ago.

That's the day Henry Ruggs III killed another person and flushed his NFL career by driving with no regard for himself or anyone else. He was drunk. He drove his Corvette at speeds up to 156 miles per hour. He killed 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog when he crashed into their car. Ruggs was cut by the Las Vegas Raiders hours later. He's making $2.50 an hour serving a prison sentence of three to 10 years, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nothing was gained in that accident, but Tintor’s mother Mirjana Komazec wrote a graceful statement hoping it would preclude a similar mistake.

"We pray that Henry Ruggs is blessed with the opportunity to be able watch his beautiful daughter grow into the amazing woman she can be," Komazec's statement said, according to the AP. "And we pray that this terrible accident inspires positive change in the world. We pray that we all take away the importance of looking out for one another, remembering everyone we meet is another human's loved one."

That's what makes the news surrounding Kansas City Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice disheartening.

Whether or not Rice was actually behind the wheel, it was still two cars seemingly racing on an expressway — including a Corvette, like Ruggs was driving, that authorities believe Rice was driving according to a police call sheet obtained by the Dallas Morning News — that caused a multi-car accident last Saturday. Both cars are reportedly linked to Rice including him leasing the Lamborghini involved, according to NBC 5 in Dallas, at the very least.

Nobody was seriously hurt in that crash, and that's the good news. But it would have been better if everyone had remembered Ruggs' story and not been putting multiple lives in danger.

Rashee Rice risks his future

Ruggs was 22 when he crashed his Corvette and killed Tintor. Rice is 23.

Like Ruggs in 2021, Rice is an ascending talent. He became the No. 1 receiver for the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs as a rookie. His future is bright.

The purported dashcam video of the accident shows a Lamborghini and Corvette swerving through traffic at high speeds and causing a crash with other drivers who weren't driving like idiots. Four other vehicles were involved. No major injuries were reported, according to NBC News, but it could have turned out a lot differently. For the driver of either sports car, or the other drivers.

The occupants of both vehicles fled the scene and while that probably won't help their upcoming legal issues, it shouldn't have happened in the first place. NFL players are told, practically from the time they're drafted as part of the rookie transition program, to avoid situations like that. Selfishly, teams don't want their players getting in trouble and opening themselves up for NFL punishment. Less cynically, they don't want harm upon their players or anyone else.

NFL players should know better, especially after the horror story with Ruggs. Rice is a young guy, but that's not a good enough excuse.

Rice can be a cautionary tale

Rice is the kind of player who can have a long and lucrative NFL career.

Last season, as a second-round pick, his role grew late in the season and he came through for a Chiefs offense that needed it. He had 79 catches for 938 yards and seven touchdowns, and that was after a slow start. He had another 262 yards in the playoffs.

"I don't know how good I can get, but I know I can be great," Rice said during Super Bowl week. "I know I can be a top receiver in the NFL."

Whatever the future holds for Rice, like more Super Bowls, 1,000-yard seasons, Pro Bowls and maybe a massive second contract worth $20 million a year or way more, it's not going to happen if he's making terrible decisions. It was almost all erased on Saturday evening.

It's yet another cautionary tale for NFL players. They don't have to be future No. 1 receivers to understand that racing down a freeway isn't smart. Teams do what they can to educate and help their players. They can't keep them from making bad decisions. Rice doesn't represent all NFL players, most of whom represent themselves and the NFL very well every day. But all NFL players should note the situation with Rice.

Ruggs' tale wasn't enough to keep Rice out of trouble. Maybe Rice's ordeal will serve as a warning to others.

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