Sources: Ray Rice gets 2-game ban

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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.

There is no proven starter on the Ravens' roster to replace Rice. Baltimore's top backup running backs -- Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro -- have a combined eight career starts. Pierce is expected to fill in for Rice, but he's been limited this offseason while recovering from shoulder surgery.

This suspension will be expensive for Rice, who will lose more than $470,000 in base salary. Rice is paid $235,294 per week during the regular season.

A week after Rice's arrest, TMZ obtained and posted a video that showed Rice lifting Palmer by her arms out of a casino elevator and laying her on the ground. She appears limp as he pulls her legs away from the elevator doors and later props her up. General manager Ozzie Newsome told reporters that the video "doesn't look good."

Rice was indicted by a grand jury in late March on third-degree aggravated assault. A day later, Rice and Palmer married.

First-time offenders, like Rice, typically are suspended a month or less by the league. In the past three years, only 12 players have received more than four-game suspensions, and all were repeat offenders.

Rice was one of five Ravens players arrested this offseason. The latest was cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct on July 12.

ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.

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