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Ray Rice suspended 2 games by NFL after assault arrest

Ray Rice will sit out for the first two games of the 2014 season for his arrest last February on an assault charge, when video footage caught the running back dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an Atlantic City casino.

Ray Rice will miss the first two games of the 2014 season after earning a suspension from the NFL, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Rice was arrested last February after an altercation occurred between him and his then-fiancee, now-wife Janay Rice (nee Palmer) in Atlantic City. Rice was eventually indicted on aggravated assault charges.

The Ravens' first two games are both at home against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, a pair of AFC North foes. Rice's suspension will formally begin on Aug. 30 and he will be eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 12, according to Schefter. He will also be fined $58,000 in addition to the two-game suspension.

Rice was facing potential jail time. However, because he was a first-time offender he was able to apply, and was accepted, into a pretrial intervention program that allows him to have his charges dropped if he stays out of trouble and undergoes counseling. The mitigated sentence did not keep him out of trouble with the league, though. As expected, the NFL handed Rice a suspension, as it has in the past when players commit first-time offenses of domestic violence.

Prior to his arrest, Rice had stayed out of trouble publicly, whether at Rutgers or through six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He did little to endear himself at a press conference addressing the arrest last May. Though he was remorseful for his actions, a curious decision was made -- whether by the team, Rice or his wife -- to have Janay Rice apologize for her "role in that night." She was initially arrested, along with Rice, on simple assault charges, but her charges were eventually dropped and Rice's were bumped up to aggravated assault.

SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber was troubled by the press conference, as many were.

And there she is, the woman who Rice knocked out and dragged out of the elevator, accepting culpability for her role in the whole thing. The situation that occurred. All this passive-voice talk, all this misplaced responsibility.

I wasn't at the Revel Casino to know exactly what happened in February, of course, so I don't know if maybe there was an argument that led up to the moment where Rice knocked his wife out in front of security cameras. That's beside the point, of course: what Rice did is impossible to justify, which makes an explanation unnecessary. Still, Rice's wife accepting equal blame for being knocked unconscious and dragged, by Ray Rice, is a pretty terrible attempt at an explanation.

Rice is coming off a career-worst season, during which he ran for just 660 yards and 3.1 yards per carry despite playing 15 games. His backup, Bernard Pierce, was worse, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, suggesting that the problems with the Ravens' running game extended to the offensive line. That said, Rice has become one of the faces of the franchise over the course of his six seasons, and his sudden on-field and off-field problems have understandably shaken perceptions of the running back.