OWINGS MILLS -- Ray Rice answered questions from the media for the first time Thursday about his domestic violence arrest in February. Among the key points were:
-Rice publicly apologized to his wife, Janay, something he did not do in May when he spoke to the media without taking questions.
“I apologize to my wife who I’ve known since high school,” Rice said, surrounded by reporters, cameras, and large group of teammates following practice. "Great mother. She’s a great wife, supports me throughout the pain.
“I made the biggest mistake of my life. Me. She can do no wrong. She’s an angel. We’re in counseling. We’ve taken the necessary steps to move forward … What counseling has done for me is allow me to interact with my inner self, to let me know where I was weak at in life.”
-Rice's wife, Janay, was at the practice facility Thursday and watched practice from the balcony behind the building. She did not join Rice during the press conference.
-Rice said he never had a domestic violence incident prior to February.
“It was the first time it ever happened," Rice said. “I’ve never had a problem with domestic abuse. This was a one-time incident.”
-Rice refused to go into specific detail about what transpired between he and his wife in the elevator, before the video obtained by TMZ showed Rice dragging an unconscious Janay, who was then Rice’s fiancée, out of the elevator.
“I own my actions, “ Rice said. “I just don’t want to keep reliving the incident. I’m trying to move forward. Every time I have to keep reliving it, doesn’t bring any good to me. What happened that night was a huge mistake on my behalf.”
-Rice apologized to “any woman who’s been involved in any domestic, or anybody who’s been involved in any kind of violence...
"I let my wife down. I let my daughter down. I let my wife’s parents down. I let the whole Baltimore community down. I got my teammates here supporting me, I let my teammates down. I let so many people down because of 30 seconds in my life that I know I can’t take back."
-A large group of Rice’s teammates, including Jacoby Jones, Dennis Pitta, Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, watched the press conference, showing their support. Rice said of their support, “It means the world to me.”
-Rice said he could not control the negative reaction to his two-game suspension. But Rice said he would not have appealed the suspension, no matter how long it was.
“I know a lot of people out there have lost respect, maybe not like me anymore,” Rice said. “But you know what? That’s my fault.
“No football games, or no money, was going to determine what I have to live with the rest of my life … The punishment was the punishment, and I never planned on appealing any kind of punishment, so whether it was two games, four games, six games, eight games, I was going to own my actions and be a man about it, and take whatever was given to me. We went through the whole legal process, we went through the [NFL] commissioner process. Whatever was decided, that was out of my control.”