Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice had his own problems as a kid, which might have been what made what he said at an anti-bullying event especially poignant.
In the audience was the family of Grace McComas, the 15-year-old Glenelg student who took her own life on Easter after constant harassment in school and on social media.
Rice was at Howard High School Saturday to address a Ray of Light anti-bullying event organized by Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball after two Howard County students died by suicide this school year.
"To think about somebody getting picked on and somebody losing their life–that really struck a nerve in my body in my soul and eveything that I stand for," Rice told the crowd of more than 300 students, parents and Howard County Public School System faculty.
Rice mentioned his rough upbringing, being raised in a single-parent household in New Jersey, and how he overcame obstacles that could have prevented him from getting to the National Football League.
"If you know my story, I've been through a lot of problems," Rice said. "But the No. 1 thing I can tell you is you're not alone in this world."
First Lady of Maryland Katie O'Malley also made an appearance at the event, as well as Grace McComas' father, Dave, his daughter, Cara, and wife, Chris.
"[My daughters] lost a sister. Chris and I lost a daughter," he said.