Ravens running back Ray Rice will receive a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy, Brent Harris of CSN has confirmed. Yahoo Sports first reported the length of Rice’s suspension Thursday morning.
Rice will miss the Ravens’ first two games of the regular season – home contests against the Bengals and Steelers. He will be eligible to return for the Ravens’ first road game, Week 3 against the Browns. Running backs Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro will compete for playing time to fill in for Rice during his absence.
The word about Rice’s suspension came as he was on the field, participating in the Ravens’ first full-team practice of training camp in Owings Mills. Rice and his wife, Janay, were involved in a physical altercation Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino. He was charged with aggravated felony assault, but was accepted into a pretrial diversion program and avoided jail time. Rice and his wife met with league commissioner Roger Goodell on June 15 in New York, and the Ravens had been awaiting word on Rice’s punishment since.
Some speculated that Rice’s suspension would be as many as six games, but Rice had never been in trouble off the field prior to this incident. Rice and his wife have also participated in counseling since the incident.
Coming off a career-low 3.1 yards per carry in 2013, Rice faces a pivotal season. He has lost weight this offseason and, seems determined to prove he can be an elite back once again. Now knowing the length of Rice’s suspension, the Ravens can plan for his return in Week 3.
UPDATE -- Ray Rice released a statement about his suspension. Full statement below:
"It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault. As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, (wife) 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.
My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children I let down because of this incident. I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that.”