Ray Rice suspended 2 games

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Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of this season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following his offseason arrest for domestic violence.

The suspension, which was announced Thursday by the league, stems from Rice's altercation with then-fiancée Janay Palmer at an Atlantic City hotel in February.

Rice also was fined an additional regular-season game check but is eligible to participate in training camp and all of Baltimore's preseason games, the NFL announced.

"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 Ravens. "As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, 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," Rice said. "I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that."

Rice was fined a total of $529,411.24 -- the combined total of two game checks for this year and one check from last season.

Speaking about Rice's punishment after the team's first full-squad workout of training camp Thursday in Owings Mills, Maryland, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said:  "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."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell informed Rice of the league's decision in a letter, saying that the league expects the three-time Pro Bowler to continue to attend counseling.

"The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game," Goodell wrote in his letter to Rice. "This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

"You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting," Goodell wrote. "As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate."

Rice allegedly struck Palmer unconscious on Feb. 15 while in a casino elevator in Atlantic City. Video surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. The couple has since married.

Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.

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