OWINGS MILLS -- The old saying goes that when one falls off the horse, one is expected to get back up.
Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, apparently wanted to do that as quickly as possible. Rice made a 10-minute apology May 23 for his role in a third-degree aggravated assault case in front of a media auditorium crowd that was larger than usual -- filling more than half of the 103-seat arena.
His apology was supposed to have taken place early next week, when general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh were to have been in attendance. But with organized team activity practices starting May 28, the Rices decided to share their thoughts with the media and public without taking any questions from the assembled press.
Clad in a light-gray suit and a blue-and-white tie, Rice -- whose voice wavered at times without breaking down -- hit his own key bullet points with an air of spontaneity and sincerity.
"I've had time to reflect on a lot of things," Rice said of the three-month period that has elapsed since he allegedly assaulted his wife in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino Feb. 15. "First of all, I want to apologize to [majority owner] Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome and coach Harbaugh. I want to apologize to the fans, the kids and everybody that's been affected by the situation me and my wife were in.
"[Janay and I] have had time to reflect on each other. One thing we've been blessed by is the fact that we're working it out together. … After the counseling, we want the world to know that it helped us out."
Joining the Rices at the media event was Janay's father, whom Rice called the father he never had; Rice's mother, the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Ravyn; and other assorted family members.
"I'll be working hard every day to be a better father, a better husband and a better role model," Rice said.
Rice blamed himself for projecting an image that made some of his community affiliations, such as his anti-bullying campaign, take a public-relations hit. Rice has also been featured in commercials for area companies such as the CarBiz auto dealers.
"Sometimes in life, you'll fail," Rice said. "You'll get knocked down, but failure is not getting back up."
Rice emphasized his renewed partnership with Janay, whom he married March 28. Toward the end of the statement, Rice turned the microphone over to his wife.
"I clearly regret my role in the incident," Janay said. "I love Ray, and I know he will prove himself."
The Rices are now taking part in a diversionary pre-trial intervention program, a step that will keep Rice from having to face judicial scrutiny or any possible jail time. The charge is expected to be dropped once Rice completes the program.
But that does not spare him from any future sanction that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might hand down. Various media reports have speculated that a suspension could last anywhere from 2-6 games.
With Rice's suspension looming and Bernard Pierce recovering from shoulder surgery, the Ravens have attempted to buttress their running back corps by signing ex-Jacksonville back Justin Forsett during free agency and drafting Coastal Carolina back Lorenzo Taliaferro during the fourth round.
"I wish I could take back about 30 seconds of my life," Rice said. "But through this, Janay and I have become better parents, better lovers, better friends.
"We're in a better place."
If Rice does get suspended, he would become the third Raven to serve a suspension since the start of the 2013 season.
Last year, defensive backs Asa Jackson and Christian Thompson each served respected eight- and four-game bans the NFL had levied for violations of league policies.
Rice's arrest was one of three that plagued the Ravens during a 22-day period earlier this offseason. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested in Gainesville, Fla., on misdemeanor drug possession charges that were later dropped. Backup guard/tackle Jah Reid was taken into custody on battery charges stemming from an incident in a Key West, Fla., nightclub. The case is still under investigation.
Joe Platania is in his 21st season covering professional football.
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