Ray Rice is getting support from one of his former Baltimore Ravens teammates -- who says he knows Ray is a "good guy" ... and deserves another shot in the NFL.
We spoke with ex-Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo outside of Mr Chow in Bev Hills -- who told us he played with Ray for 5 years ... and insists he's not the monster he's been made out to be.
"What happened with Ray ... that was a one time deal," Ayanbadejo said.
"He's a really good guy, great guy in the community. Made a mistake and he owned it ... but yeah, he should be back in the league."
As for Ray, he's been training like crazy and says he refuses to give up on a comeback. We'll see what happens in the off-season.