After months of speculation, punishment has finally been levied against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice by the NFL. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the league suspended Rice for the first two games of the 2014 NFL regular season on Thurs. He will also be fined $58,000 and be asked by the NFL to take counseling.
The 27-year-old Rice found himself in hot water in Feb., when he allegedly struck his wife (then fiancée) Janay, rendering her unconscious. A video appeared to show Rice dragging his unconscious partner out of an Atlantic City casino. Rice was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, thus avoiding prosecution.
The Ravens have supported Rice throughout the ordeal, but agree that punishment is warranted.
“There are consequences when you make a mistake like that,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “I stand behind Ray, he's a heck of a guy, he's done everything right since. He makes a mistake, he's gonna have to pay a consequence.”
After four straight campaigns with at least 1,000 rushing yards, Rice had a down year last season. In 15 games, he rushed for 660 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 321 receiving yards. The seven-year veteran has 6,180 career rushing yards and 3,034 receiving yards, with 43 total touchdowns.
Both of the games Rice will miss come against division rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his absence, the Ravens will likely turn to Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett at running back. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro may also see some carries.
"I think we have a lot of depth at running back,” said general manager Ozzie Newsome. “We'll just see how it plays out, a lot of competition in there and I like our guys and looking forward to seeing how they do."