Super Bowl champion Ray Rice finally will get a hometown hero's welcome Saturday as the City of New Rochelle hosts a rally on the steps of City Hall to honor the Baltimore Ravens star.
Rice's Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. New Rochelle had planned the rally for Feb. 9, but a winter storm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow on the region forced it to be postponed.
Rice, 26, was born and raised in New Rochelle and led New Rochelle High School to a state football championship in 2003.
"So many residents of New Rochelle are eager to demonstrate their admiration for Ray's accomplishments," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said in a news release. "This community rally will be an opportunity for all of us to offer our congratulations to our hometown hero."
Initially, New Rochelle officials discussed the possibility of throwing a parade for Rice, but the three-time Pro Bowl running back rejected the idea, said Angela Taylor, one of the rally's organizers.
"He's not really comfortable with all the pomp and circumstance," Taylor said. Instead, Rice pushed for a rally that "focused on the kids of New Rochelle."
The hourlong event, which is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. and be hosted by WFAN talk-show host Craig Carton, will include representatives from the Youth Tackle League, New Rochelle High's 2012 state championship football team and the school's national champion cheerleading squad.
In an interview with Newsday earlier this month, Rice said he was just as excited to celebrate his hometown's other recent championships as he was his own.
"We're all bringing different championships back to New Rochelle," Rice said. "We've got the world championship from me. We've got the state championship from the high school football team. And you've got the national championship from the cheerleaders. It just shows how much greatness is in our town."
City officials are asking supporters to bring signs and wear purple -- the predominant color of both the Ravens and New Rochelle High -- to the rally.