Ray Rice received few negative headlines prior to this week, but the Baltimore Ravens running back is now dealing with potentially career-threatening allegations of domestic abuse. On Thursday evening, Robert Klemko of The Monday Morning Quarterback reported that police have obtained footage of Rice getting into an altercation with his fiancee, Janay Palmer, and knocking her unconscious.
According to Jason Butt at SB Nation's Ravens blog, the allegations could have serious repercussions for Rice on and off the field:
From a legal standpoint, Rice could get off without any jail time. He has no prior convictions and he's been a model citizen before this. Regardless of what's on video, his reputation has taken quite a hit though. And if this video does reach the public, and it's exactly what this report states, then it could do even more damage.
As far as his football career is concerned, a suspension is more than a given at this point. The question now remains is how many games?
Earlier in the day, Rice's attorney Michael Diamondstein defended his client by saying that footage released by TMZ depicting the running back dragging an unconscious Palmer from an elevator didn't tell the full story of the altercation.
"We are confident that by the time all of the facts are in the open, the public will have a complete and true picture of what actually transpired, and we just ask that the public remember what a high-character, good person Ray is, and that they reserve judgment until all the facts are out," Diamondstein said.
Diamondstein's statements were founded on the goodwill Rice has built as a quiet star in the NFL over six seasons. Footage of Rice physically knocking out Palmer, whether it is leaked to the public or not, could deplete that goodwill.
As Butt points out, a suspension is almost certainly on its way. Rice could be subject to fines, or even release by the Ravens.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a big hullabaloo about re-designed team logo, but ... you may want to stay seated:
The Bucs' new look is essentially a cleaned-up version of their old one. The new logo features smoother, less busy lines to outline the familiar skull and crossbones on a red pirate flag. The new helmets will feature the updated design with a bigger decal.
Fans at Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation seem to like the look. Be sure to head over and weigh in.
The Cleveland Browns have to get things right one of these days. By every indication, new general manager Ray Farmer may be the man to help reinvigorate the team. At the NFL Combine on Thursday, he told reporters that the Browns may not necessarily do what everyone thinks they're going to do:
"I would say that it could be safe, but we might not go that direction. It might not be what everyone thinks it will be. There is going to be an opportunity for some curveballs."
The obvious choice for Cleveland is to nab one of this year's three premier rookie quarterbacks -- Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel -- with the No. 4 overall pick. Then again, Farmer and new head coach Mike Pettine have also had plenty of good things to say about Brian Hoyer (and exactly zero good things to say about poor, poor Brandon Weeden).
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin all gave candid responses at the NFL Combine on Thursday regarding their responsibilities to foster healthy locker room environments. Their full quotes are well worth a bit of your time. Fox sums up the changing atmosphere nicely:
"What I try to remind our staff, this is somebody's son, and if you have children and understanding that, you do try to create that environment. It's combative game, a tough game, there's been some correlations sometimes to the military ... you are dealing with young people, you're trying to help them grow as people, as well of football players, that's the way I approach it."