Now that Ray Rice has been reinstated, the former Baltimore Ravens running back is searching for NFL employment. That’s expected to be difficult considering the public relations firestorm sure to follow him.

Despite the baggage that has accompanied Rice since a graphic video surfaced of him knocking out Janay Palmer in a casino elevator, former Ravens teammates expressed support for the three-time Pro Bowl running back and said he deserves a second chance in the NFL.

“Yeah, I would love to see Ray play again,” said fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who has stayed in touch with Rice via texts since the team terminated Rice’s $35 million contract in September. “I wish the best for him. He knows he did wrong. He feels bad about that. You’ve got to move on to the next challenge.”

While many league sources predicted Rice would be reinstated, plenty of doubt exists about whether he will play this season. The conventional wisdom states he’s more likely to be signed by an NFL team during the offseason.

“Oh yeah, most definitely, everybody deserves a second chance, man,” strong safety Darian Stewart said. “I just hope he gets it. Everybody makes mistakes. We’re all human. He deserves that chance.”

Veteran defensive end Chris Canty, the Ravens’ players’ union representative, said Rice is worthy of another chance.

“I think we’re a country that believes in second chances,” Canty said. “America’s game should reflect that. I think that, hopefully, there will be an opportunity for him. I think there should be an opportunity.

“Certainly he’s had his day in court with the legal process and that’s run its course with the appeal hearing. I do think he should have a second chance in the National Football League.”

Rice struggled mightily during his last NFL season, playing as heavy as 225 pounds and suffering hip flexor and quadriceps injuries. He rushed for 660 yards and averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry, as his weight and injuries robbed him of his trademark explosiveness.

Rice got in optimal shape during the offseason, however, getting down to roughly 205 pounds and showing flashes of his old form during the preseason. But then he was suspended by the NFL.

A source close to Rice said the former Rutgers star has been working out regularly, is in a good mental state and is ready to go.

Although Rice has drawn heavy criticism nationally, including from fellow NFL players, he still has backing inside the Ravens’ locker room.

“Definitely it was hard seeing him go, especially with what happened,” rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “It would be nice if he could come back with us, but most likely that won’t happen. He already knows that everybody here has his back. When he comes back, we wish him the best.”