Jerry Coleman: Ravens Stand Behind Rice
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The Ravens will be conducting business as usual the rest of training camp, as running back Ray Rice’s two-game suspension was handed down during the first-full squad practice in Owings Mills Thursday afternoon. This causes him to miss 25% of the home games this season due to the punishment. Regardless, Rice’s suspension will not go into affect until August 30th, and he’s still eligible to practice and participate throughout the pre-season.
When the news broke during the 1st day of camp, General Manger Ozzie Newsome, made sure to alert Coach John Harbaugh along with Rice. As the team came off the field, Rice declined comment and Harbaugh spoke on his behalf, raising some eyebrows with his staunch defense. “It’s not a big deal. It’s just part of the process. We said from the beginning that the circumstances would determine the consequences. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray. He’s a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake. He’s going to have to pay a consequence.”
While everybody knew something was coming soon enough, Harbaugh was badgered with questions about what he thought about the NFL ruling and seemed to get tiresome. “Is this the last question about it? It’s part of the process. We said from the beginning the circumstances would determine the consequences.”
After waiting five long months for the legal process to work itself out, and then the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to step in to make a decision, Rice’s teammates are happy they can move forward.
“I’ll be glad when the two games are up, not only so we can have him back, which is the least of my worries, but to kind of close the final chapter [of this situation] for him,” Torrey Smith said.
The next step will be filling the void of Rice, and when asked about how will that work. Harbaugh mentioned Bernard Pierce who is coming off shoulder surgery.
“We have a lot depth at running back. We’ll just see how it plays out with the competition in there,” Harbaugh said.
In a prepared statement released by the team, Rice is taking fully responsibility for missing the first two games. While many feel the punishment didn’t fit the alleged crime. Thinking that it was nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The Commissioner saw it differently after seeing the video from the casino elevator and reacted accordingly.