Ray Rice spoke Friday for the first time since being arrested following an altercation with his then-fiancee, now-wife Janay Palmer in Atlantic City in February. Speaking at a news conference, Rice apologized for "the situation my wife and I were in," and promised reporters that he is "working every day to be a father, a better husband and a better role model."
"I failed miserably," Rice said. "But I wouldn't call myself a failure cause I'm working myself back up."
A Sorry Apology
A Sorry Apology
Rice was accompanied by his wife, his mother and his daughter. Janay Rice sat next to her husband during the press conference and, curiously, also spoke, apologizing for her "role in that night" though simple assault charges against her were eventually dropped. Footage from the night showed Rice dragging his wife's unconscious body from an elevator.
Both Ray and Janay Rice expressed their gratitude for the help they received in the months after the incident. The ordeal came as a surprise after Rice's six seasons in the NFL when he became arguably one the league's best running backs and a face of the Baltimore Ravens.
Here's how Rice got to this point, and what may happen next, including an all-but-certain suspension.
Feb. 15: Rice and Palmer arrested
News broke that Rice had been arrested, charged and released from jail on simple assault charges, along with Palmer. It was known at the time that two had gotten into a fight at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, though details of the altercation were not clear. Rice's attorney described the incident as a "minor physical altercation."
Feb. 19: Video surfaces of Rice dragging Palmer from an elevator
The "minor physical altercation" that Rice's attorney described appeared much more serious than that after footage emerged -- via TMZ, naturally -- of what was allegedly Rice dragging Palmer's limp body from an elevator by her shoulders. Again, Rice's representation came to his defense, saying, "neither Ray nor myself will try this case in the media," but acknowledged that the footage released by TMZ did, indeed, depict the couple.
Police later said that they obtained video that showed that Rice had knocked Palmer unconscious. That footage was not leaked to the public.
John Harbaugh: "Ray's character, you guys know his character, so you start with that."
The heads of the Ravens organization came to Rice's defense in the days following his arrest. Both Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome iterated that Rice would continue to be in the team's plans at running back.
Neither absolved Rice of wrongdoing, however. Harbaugh:
"The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they're both committed to doing that. That was the main takeaway for me from the conversation. They understand their own issues. They're getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that's really positive. That was the main takeaway."
March 27: Rice indicted on aggravated assault charges
Rice had his charges upped to aggravated assault from simple assault after the case was presented by prosecutors to a grand jury. Aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Meanwhile, the simple assault charges against Palmer were dropped.
Although Palmer indicated later that she did not want to go forward with prosecution, that didn't stop the state from following up.
March 28: Rice and Palmer married
The day after Rice's indictment, Rice and Palmer were married. According to the Baltimore Sun, the two had initially planned to have a summer wedding before moving the date up without a public explanation. Wide receiver Torrey Smith attended the wedding, and expressed his support.
"Everyone knows that we're tight. I'm tight with Ray, I'm tight with Janay. He is like a brother to me and she's like a sister to me and my wife as well," Smith said. "I went by yesterday after everything happened and checked up on them and they're happy ... they're growing. They're trying to better themselves from it.
"I'm there to support them no matter what happens, and that's both of them. I wish them the best and they are making themselves better."
May 1: Rice rejects plea deal, applies for pretrial intervention program
Rice rejected a plea offer that would have spared the running back jail time in exchange for completing probation and undergoing anger management. Instead, he pleaded not guilty and applied for a program for first-time offenders that could clear him of charges in as few as six months. The program would require Rice to stay out of trouble and attend regular counseling.
Rice was accepted into the program earlier this week, allowing him to avoid trial.
NFL expected to suspend Rice
Alhough Rice will almost assuredly avoid jail time, he may not be able to avoid punishment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has suspended players in the past even when charges were dropped. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Friday that the Ravens are anticipating that Rice will miss some time, but how long is unclear. Former Ravens cornerbacks Cary Williams and Fabian Washington earned two- and one-game suspensions, respectively, for similar first-time offenses of domestic violence, though neither was caught on tape.
While we wait to hear what the NFL will do, it's unclear if the Ravens will take any punitive measures of their own. At the NFL Combine in February, Newsome said that the organization is waiting to take its cue from the league:
"As a league, we have a conduct policy," Newsome said. "Being a member of the league, we will follow that A to Z. Up until we get to that point, he falls under the personal policy of the league. We will allow the league to take it's position before we have to take any."
Newsome said he's seen the Rice video online "just like everyone and it doesn't look good."
Rice is coming off a career-worst season in which he averaged 3.1 yards per carry and had fewer than 1,000 total yards of offense after four straight seasons with at least 1,600 total yards. The Ravens missed the playoffs after five straight postseason appearances, including their 2013 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.