BALTIMORE (WJZ) — “I’ve failed miserably, but I wouldn’t call myself a failure.” That’s what Ravens star running back Ray Rice is saying in his first public statement since his arrest in February in New Jersey.
Mike Hellgren has more on Rice’s apology.
For Ray Rice and now-wife Janay Palmer, the past four months have been a roller coaster. The couple met in high school and have a daughter together, but they made headlines after a night out at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City in February. Rice was arrested and indicted for assaulting her.
“As me and Janay wish that we could take back 30 seconds of our life, we definitely sit here today and tell you that we are better parents, we are better lovers and we’re also better friends throughout the situation.”
Rice never apologized publicly to his wife, but thanked her.
“I want to thank [Janay] for loving me when I was weak and building me when I was strong,” he said.
Video of Rice dragging Palmer’s unconscious body out of a casino elevator first obtained by TMZ is some of the evidence prosecutors had against him. He declined to answer questions about what exactly happened beforehand.
“It was a lot of tears shed, but me and Janay can truly say that we’re in a better place,” said Rice.
For the first time, Rice spoke about the incident.
“I just first off want to apologize to Steve Biscotti, Ozzie Newsome and coach Harbaugh. I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, to everyone who’s affected by this situation that me and my wife were in,” Rice said. “We really had the time to reflect on each other. We were blessed to work it out together.”
Rice’s news conference comes days after he struck a deal with prosecutors and a judge in New Jersey to enroll him in a pre-trial detention program. It’s for first-time offenders and mandates counseling. Rice avoids jail time and a conviction on his record.
“I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night,” Palmer said. “But I can say that I am happy, that we continue to work through it together.”
Rice’s wife Janay spoke briefly, saying she loves him and counseling has made their marriage stronger.
“I love Ray and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but the community,” she said. “And I know he will gain your respect back in due time.”
The couple married the day after Rice was indicted. They’ve been going through counseling together.
“What counseling has done for us, we want the world to see that it definitely did help us out,” Rice said.
Rice said he’s working on being a better father and choked up when addressing his father-in-law.
“Thank you for teaching me what it is to be a man,” he said. “I know it wasn’t easy when you seen everything that happened. One thing you gave me was trust. And I’m working on our relationship. I have Janay’s best interest.”
While his legal troubles appear over, Rice still faces punishment by the NFL as he moves on with his life.
“One thing I can say is that sometimes in life you will fail, but I won’t call myself a failure,” Rice said. “Failure is not getting knocked down, it’s not getting up.”
Watch The Entire Press Conference Here:
Despite it all, Rice insists certain things remain the same.
“I’m still the Ray Rice that you know, used to know or grown to love. I’m still the same guy,” he said.
Ray Rice is one of the most productive and popular Ravens of all time. He’s spent six seasons with the Ravens, including three trips to the Pro Bowl. Rice is the second leading rusher in franchise history. He was awarded a five-year, $40 million contract in 2012.
There is no doubt Rice will see some time on the sideline as punishment for the casino incident. He is beginning the process now of restarting his career and rebuilding his reputation.
“I pride myself. My job is a very powerful job—the NFL. And I’m blessed to be playing at the highest level of sports. But the job that I did was more than scoring touchdowns,” Rice said. “It was getting out into the community, it was helping out. I really treat my job as a very special job. And I failed miserably. But I wouldn’t call myself a failure because I’m working my way back up.”
Ray Rice’s public incident is of concern to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose code of conduct allows him to punish players even if they’re not charged with a crime. That punishment process is another step in Rice’s return.
“What happens moving forward–under league rules–Ray is going to be subject to possible discipline by the league,” said Ravens President Dick Cass. “The league’s going to look at all the facts, gather the facts. Ray will then go meet with the commissioner, most likely in the near future, and the commissioner will make a decision.”
Rice will be on the field in Owings Mills as the Ravens begin an offseason training camp.
“It is what it is. There’s a punishment for everything if you do the wrong things. Whatever it is, he’ll deal with it and handle it,” said Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. “And as a team, we’ll have to deal with the loss–I’m sure there’ll be some kind of loss. So we’ll have to deal with it and we’ll handle that when it comes.”
Cass says the Ravens do plan on consulting with the commissioner as he decides his punishment for Ray Rice. He adds that ultimately it will be Roger Goodell’s decision.
Past precedent would indicate Rice faces a suspension of as many as four games.
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