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Ray Rice 'Optimistic' About Extension Before Monday's Deadline

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice said he's "always optimistic" that he will come to an agreement on a new contract with the organization prior to Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. If he cannot reach a deal with the Ravens by then, he will have to play under the franchise tag in 2012. That franchise designation would pay him $7.7. million next season, but Rice told Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun that he holds out hope that a deal will be worked out:

"I'm always optimistic," Rice said while playing host to "A Ray of Hope," an anti-bullying teen suicide outreach event at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. "God has put me in a position where not too many people can say they've been. I never played for the dollars and all of that other stuff. My rookie contract, quite frankly, you just signed it and go play football so this is a little bit difference of an experience for me."

While the Pro Bowl back remains hopeful, there have been no reports of progress made between his representative Todd France and the Ravens. Much like Drew Brees, the franchise quarterback who signed a massive new deal on Friday, Rice skipped offseason workouts this spring and summer as he waited for a new deal.

For more on the Ravens and Ray Rice's situation, check out SB Nation's Ravens blog, Baltimore Beatdown.