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Ray Rice's contract terminated by Ravens

In response to video leaking of Ray Rice striking his wife unconscious, the Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contract of the seven-year running back.

The Baltimore Ravens have released running back Ray Rice, the team announced on Monday afternoon. The release comes following a video of him striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and knocking her unconscious leaked Monday through TMZ.

Ray Rice had been serving a two-game suspension handed down earlier this year by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell has subsequently acknowledged his mistake in the face of widespread public criticism over the length of the suspension and the manner in which he investigated the matter. Goodell reportedly allowed Rice to be in the room when Palmer met with Goodell at the NFL offices.

The Ravens were no innocent party in this mess, either. After a different video surfaced of Rice dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator, the team held a disastrous press conference in which the star running back apologized to owner Steve Bisciotti, GM Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh, but not his wife. In a prepared statement, Rice stated, "Failure is not getting knocked down, it's not getting back up."

Rice now becomes a free agent as soon as the paperwork terminating his contact is processed. Because he has four or more seasons of accrued NFL experience, he is designated as a vested veteran and does not have to go through the waiver wire. However, he won't be able to receive his 2014 salary from the Ravens, according to Andrew Brandt of ESPN. NFL regulations dictate he be on the 53-man roster at the beginning of the season -- he was on the suspended list at that time.

The Ravens running back depth chart is muddled after Rice's release. Bernard Pierce started in the opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, but was benched after a second quarter fumble and didn't see the field again. He was replaced by Justin Forsett, who ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro did not have a carry.