Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the 2014 season due to an altercation in February that resulted in a charge of aggravated assault, ESPN reports. Rice and his now-wife were arrested after an incident at an Atlantic City casino on Feb. 15 in which he was caught on camera pulling her unconscious body out of an elevator after allegedly striking her.
It appears that Rice will not face prison time as a consequence, as he won’t stand trial. He will be fined $58,000 in addition to the suspension and will be asked by the league to undergo counseling. The suspension begins Aug. 30 and Rice will be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 12 after missing regular-season games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
His two-game absence opens the door for Bernard Pierce and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro to establish themselves in the Ravens backfield. Rice, 27, is coming off the worst season of his career, as he averaged 3.1 yards-per-carry while compiling just 981 yards from scrimmage over 15 games in 2013.
A four-time 1,000-yard rusher who has twice exceeded 2,000 total yards in a season, Rice reportedly shed 15 pounds over the offseason in an effort to put together a bounce-back campaign.