Ravens coach John Harbaugh defends team's handling of Ray Rice

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on Sunday defended the way the team handled former running back Ray Rice.
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Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on Sunday defended the way the team handled former running back Ray Rice.

Harbaugh was addressing a recent report from ESPN that said Harbaugh wanted to release Rice when the domestic violence allegation against him was first revealed in February. The report also said the coach was overruled by Ravens executives, including owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Speaking after the Ravens' 23-21 win over the Cleveland Browns, Harbaugh acknowledged that he had discussions with Newsome about Rice but disputed the notion that the general manager overruled him.

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From the Baltimore Sun:

"Every single football decision we make, we work together. Just like every football decision, you get together, you hash it out. Ozzie uses the term scrimmaging. You scrimmage it out. Everybody’s got their opinions. ... That decision was exactly like all the other ones. And we walked out of that room, we were united, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and that’s how I felt about the decision.

"I thought it was the right decision. And the way we handled it, all the way through, I felt like was the right way to handle it all the way through. I felt like we did the right thing, and I stand behind it. That’s all I’m going to say about it."

The Ravens held on to Rice, and he initially received a two-game suspension from the NFL. But after a video showing Rice punching his then-fiancée was made public earlier this month, Baltimore released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

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At the time Rice was released, Harbaugh said the new video "made things a little bit different" regarding the team's stance on the player.

The NFL is currently conducting an investigation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of the Rice case amid criticism of his and the league's response to the domestic violence incident.

Ben Estes