Ray Rice has always been a fan of running backs. As a kid, he admired Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. He wears No. 27 because of Eddie George. He has studied the Niners' Frank Gore, and he was in awe of the season Adrian Peterson had this year for the Vikings.

So it's understandable if the Ravens' tailback bristles at the notion that running backs aren't as valuable as they once were, that they've become interchangeable parts in an increasingly pass-happy league.

"I think every running back came out with a chip on their shoulder this year," Rice said this week, "because everybody was saying our value was going down. It's been really special to see what a lot of running backs have done this year.

"We're like a big fraternity," he said. "I like to see all the running backs do well, because it brings our value up for the next generation that comes in. Running backs aren't going anywhere."