Former Baltimore Ravens running Ray Rice tells New York Magazine in an article published Tuesday that he is a changed man after a domestic violence incident with his wife and that he is ready to resume his playing career.
Rice was originally suspended for the first two games of the season after being charged with third-degree aggravated assault over the incident, but he avoided jail time by entering a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders.
The NFL indefinitely suspended him and the Ravens terminated his contract after the release of a videotape showing him striking his then-fiancée. Rice won his appeal of the ban and was reinstated to the league.
Rice, a three-time Pro Bowler, has yet to sign with a team, though he reportedly settled a grievance with the Ravens over the remainder of his 2014 salary after he was suspended.
In the article, written by Steve Fishman, Rice discussed how his life has changed since that point and says his priorities have changed.
“You’ve got to understand that growing up, football meant more to me than anything else. And now my priorities are God, family, then football,” Rice said.
There are also details in the article about the Valentine Day’s incident that led to Rice's arrest.
Janay Rice says that Ray was not paying attention to her and she went for a phone he was using. According to transcripts, Janay slapped Rice twice after following him to an elevator. Rice then used his left hand and hit her on the side of the head, knocking her unconscious. A video, which led to the original two-game suspension that was heavily criticized, showed Rice dragging her out of the elevator.
Rice said he thinks of last season as an injury year.
"Except I wasn’t physically hurt, I was mentally hurt," he told the magazine.
Rice, 28, says he believes his playing career isn’t over and wants to go out on his terms.
“Honestly, it would hurt, because I didn’t leave the game the way I wanted to. I didn’t leave the game because I wasn’t good enough. I’ve still got a whole lot of game, and I’m not ready to call it quits.” Rice told Fishman. “But I don’t love football more than I love my wife.”
- Scooby Axson