The Baltimore Ravens will begin the season without the services of Ray Rice, but the running back will miss just two weeks.
The NFL suspended Rice for two games Thursday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. ESPN.com reported via sources that Rice also will be fined $58,000 and the league will ask him to take counseling.
The suspension stems from a February incident in which Rice allegedly struck his then-fiancee in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, N.J. Rice was accused of knocking his now-wife unconscious and was charged with felony aggravated assault. Rice entered a program for first-time offenders that ultimately would clear his record.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Rice and his wife to discuss the alleged incident, and Goodell further addressed Rice in a letter accompanying the announcement Thursday.
“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,” the commissioner wrote. “This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.”
Many believe the suspension could have been much longer, but the Ravens will be without one of their best players for two divisional games. Baltimore opens the season with games against AFC North foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Rice had a bit of a down year in 2013. He appeared in 15 games and totaled 660 yards on 214 carries with four touchdowns. The Rutgers product also caught 58 passes for 321 yards.