Ravens’ Rice must sit 1st 2 games
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a two-game suspension from the NFL on Thursday following his offseason arrest for domestic violence.
Rice will miss the season opener against AFC North champion Cincinnati on Sept. 7 and the Sept. 11 game on Thursday night against the Steelers.
The six-year veteran was arrested following a Feb. 15 altercation in Atlantic City, N.J., in which he allegedly struck then-fiancee Janay Palmer. The 27-year-old Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being expunged.
Rice met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month after joining the diversion program. Goodell ultimately decided to suspend the running back for two games without pay and fine him an additional game check “for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.”
In a letter to Rice, Goodell wrote: “As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.”
Rice’s suspension will begin Aug. 30. He will be eligible for reinstatement Sept. 12 after the Steelers game. Rice may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.
“It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault,” Rice said in a statement. “As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.”
Rice is the team’s career leader in total scrimmage yards and ranks behind only Jamal Lewis in total yards rushing.
Bernard Pierce is expected to start for Rice in Baltimore’s first two games.
Rice’s teammates were not stunned by the news of the suspension.
“You knew something was going to happen,” receiver Torrey Smith said. “I’ll be glad when those two games are up.”