OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Ray Rice stepped to the microphone, took a deep breath and spoke for 17 minutes about what he called “the biggest mistake of his life.”
His arrest for domestic violence against his then-fiancee last February is something Rice figures will haunt him long after NFL career has ended.
The Baltimore Ravens running back was arrested on assault charges following a Feb. 15 altercation in New Jersey in which he allegedly struck Janay Palmer. Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being dropped.
“My actions that night were totally inexcusable,” said Rice, who during Ravens training camp Thursday spoke publicly for the first time since receiving a two-game suspension from the NFL.
“My daughter is 2 years old now. One day she’s going to know the power of Google. Me having to explain that to her, what happened that night, that’s something I have to live with the rest of my life.”
Rice was referring to a grainy video in which he is shown dragging Palmer, now his wife, from an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. He did not address the incident at an impromptu news conference in May, and although he refused to divulge details on Thursday, he dismissed the notion that he was provoked.
“I don’t want to keep re-living the incident. I’m trying to move forward,” he said. “What happened that night was a huge mistake, and that’s what I’ll keep it at. I don’t condone any of my behavior. I take full responsibility for my actions. My wife can do no wrong.”
Rice wore a Ravens polo shirt and a pained expression throughout the session. More than a dozen TV cameras were in place, some telecasting the interview live, and several of his teammates stood behind the throng to show their support.
Rice, 27, is the team’s career leader in total scrimmage yards and ranks behind only Jamal Lewis in total yards rushing. But this press conference wasn’t about football.
This was about apologizing for actions that he insisted were one of a kind.
“It was the first time it ever happened,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem with domestic abuse. This was a one-time incident.”
In addition to the two-game suspension, Rice was fined three paychecks totaling more than $500,000. There have been reports that the fine was too light. Rice declined to weigh in on that subject except to say that he would have accepted whatever penalty the NFL deemed fit.
The Ravens also lost rookie defensive end Brent Urban for the season after tearing his right ACL in practice.
The injury occurred during practice Wednesday. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Thursday that the fourth-round pick from Virginia was lost for the year.
Harbaugh says, “It’s a clean tear. That’s the positive.”
Urban is no stranger to injury. He tore the ACL of his left knee before and had a bad ankle injury during his senior year at Virginia.
This injury occurred when Urban was trying to shake off a block.
Harbaugh says, “His knee just buckled on him.”
Lynch ends holdout: Marshawn Lynch’s holdout is over, ending one distraction so far for the Super Bowl champions.
Lynch arrived at the Seattle Seahawks practice facility Thursday afternoon following the team’s morning practice. The team confirmed Lynch had reported for camp, ending a holdout that spanned a week.
Lynch was caught by television cameras talking on his phone out near the Seahawks practice fields wearing a hooded “Beast Mode” sweatshirt and knit cap on an 85 degree day. He was later hanging out in the lobby of the facility.
Lynch must still pass his physical and be added to the active roster. Seattle’s roster is currently at the 90-man limit.
Lynch missed the first week of training camp unhappy with his contract status. Lynch is scheduled to make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It’s the third year of a four-year deal Lynch signed before the 2012 season.
Jerry retires from Falcons: The Atlanta Falcons have announced that defensive tackle Peria Jerry, a first-round draft pick from Mississippi in 2009, has decided to retire.
No reason was given by the team in its two-paragraph statement.
The Falcons re-signed Jerry to a new contract in March, not long after defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters agreed on new deals.
With Peters rehabbing from Achilles surgery last December and currently inactive, the 29-year-old Jerry was listed as a second-string defensive end in Atlanta’s new 3-4 alignment.
Berry out for Chiefs: Eric Berry left Chiefs practice Thursday after hurting his right ankle, the second injury that the Pro Bowl safety has sustained so far in training camp.
Berry dislocated his finger in an earlier practice.
It was unclear what happened to Berry during one of the early sessions of the day’s workout at Missouri Western. He walked gingerly to the tent next to the field and was checked on by trainers, and then talked with other team officials on the sideline before leaving on a cart.
Berry was able to put weight on the leg, but was noticeably limping, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he was still awaiting word on the severity of the injury.
“It’s no Achilles, it’s no ligament tear,” Reid said. “We’ll have to see.”
Colts lose another starter: Colts left guard Donald Thomas will require season-ending surgery to repair his injured right quad.
Coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday an MRI confirmed the diagnosis.
Thomas also missed most of last season with a torn right quad in Week 2. The Colts also said he had offseason surgery to repair a torn biceps.
Indy thought Thomas’ return would solidify an offensive line that couldn’t stay healthy in 2013, struggled to open running lanes and allowed franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to be hit far too many times. Rookie Jack Mewhort, Indy’s second-round pick, and NFL veteran Lance Louis will now compete for the open job.
Thomas, running back Vick Ballard and defensive lineman Fili Moala are all out for the season.