The NFL has suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of this season following his offseason arrest on an assault charge.
The league announced the punishment for Rice in a statement Thursday, saying that the three-time Pro Bowler is eligible to participate in training camp and all of Baltimore’s 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 released by the team. “As I said earlier, I failed in many ways.”
Rice will be fined $58,000 in addition to the two-game unpaid suspension and will be asked by the NFL to take counseling, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Rice will be subject to further discipline if he commits any more violations, according to the source.
“There are consequences when you make a mistake like that,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Thursday. “I stand behind Ray. He’s a heck of a guy.”
Rice allegedly struck his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, unconscious in February while in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.
Janay and I have learned from this,” Rice said in the statement. “We have become better as a couple and as parents.”
Under the personal conduct policy, the NFL can suspend a player even if he isn’t charged or convicted of a crime. Rice met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on June 16.
“He’s done everything right since [the incident],” Harbaugh said. “He makes a mistake, alright? He’s going to have to pay a consequence.”
Rice will begin serving his suspension on Aug. 30 and will be eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 12, the day after Baltimore plays a Thursday night game in Week 2 against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rice also will miss the Ravens’ season opener against another division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals.
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