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Ravens Insider: Former Ravens RB Ray Rice to be ‘Legend of the Game’ nearly 10 years after domestic violence incident


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Former Ravens running back Ray Rice will be the “Legend of the Game” for Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium.

The honor recognizes a past player for accomplishments on and off the field. Rice, 36, spent six seasons in Baltimore from 2008 to 2013 and was a key member of its Super Bowl championship team during the 2012 season.

But he was suspended and later released after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino on Feb. 15, 2014.

In a story published on the team’s website Friday, the Ravens said Rice is “being recognized for the player he was, and for the redemption he has worked towards.”

“I truly understand why I was let go and why so many hearts changed,” Rice told the team’s website. “But hopefully people can see where I’m at now.

“They say people can change, right? I am not the same person I was 10-12 years ago. That’s just not who I am. Every time I stepped on the field, I gave it my all. But I couldn’t say the same for life. Now I’m trying to be the best version of me.”

A second-round draft pick out of Rutgers in 2008, Rice was a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Ravens. He rushed for 6,180 yards, second-most in franchise history, and 70 touchdowns and had 369 catches for 3,064 yards and six scores. Four times he topped 1,000 yards in a season, and he averaged 4.3 yards per carry for his career.

In February 2014, Rice and Palmer were arrested and charged with simple assault following an alercation at the Revel Casino, according to Atlantic City police. Rice was indicted the following month on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault, but prosecutors dropped the charge after he paid $125 in fines and received anger management counseling. The charge against Palmer also was dropped.

The NFL initially suspended Rice for two games, drawing widespread criticism for being too lenient and driving conversation about how the league deals with domestic violence. On Sept. 8, 2014, hours after TMZ posted video of Rice punching Palmer, the Ravens released him and the NFL announced an indefinite suspension.

Rice and Palmer have been married for 10 years and have two kids together, Rayven, 11, and Jaylen, 7, and recently moved back to the Baltimore area full-time, the team said. Rice also coaches two youth football teams, the 13U and 7U Pikesville Wildcats.

“He was also consistently in the community, giving back. Importantly, after Ray’s incident he owned it,” Ravens president Sashi Brown said, via the team’s website. “On his own accord, Ray undertook critical work within himself and to bring awareness to and educate others on domestic violence. Nothing will change his past or make it right, but Ray’s work has allowed him to atone for his actions and rebuild relationships personally and professionally, including with the Ravens.”

Over the years, Rice has been involved with domestic violence awareness groups, including the Childhood Domestic Violence Association and A Call to Men. Since 2014, the Ravens have donated more than $2 million to Baltimore’s House of Ruth.

Rice has also spoken to several NFL and college teams and talks to Ravens rookies at the team’s annual educational seminar. He was honored on the field at M&T Bank Stadium last season, along with former teammates, as part of the Ravens’ 10th anniversary celebration of their last Super Bowl title.

In 2019, Rice launched Pipeline 2 Prosperity, a nonprofit organization helping underprivileged kids in Baltimore and his hometown of New Rochelle, New York, providing them with toys, sports equipment, peer-to-peer mentoring and other needs.

“I knew it would be hard to forgive me, but the one thing I have been consistent with was that I was going to be better. I’m not going to be a victim of my past,” Rice told the team’s website. “My legacy won’t be domestic violence. My legacy will be what I became after.”

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