‘I’m a rehabilitated man’ – Ray Rice says he’s changed, part of process of bid to get back to NFL

Disgraced former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice has professed to be a changed man as part of his continued bid to move on from a domestic violence controversy that shocked America and left the running back without a team.

In a sit down with ESPN on Tuesday, Rice called himself a ‘rehabilitated man’ while admitting that winning back the hearts of football fans could be tough after now-infamous video emerged of the 200-pound athlete knocking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer out cold inside an Atlantic City casino elevator.

‘We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that,’ Rice said. ‘I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video — that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.’

And it’s a decision that appears likely to haunt the 28-year-old professionally, possibly for his remaining years as a viable athlete.

‘I can understand some people probably never will forgive my actions,’ he told ESPN. ‘But I think that every step that I took going forward right now, over time, I want to be able to rewrite the script, to tell my daughter that daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward.’

Ray Rice was suspended from the NFL indefinitely after he was filmed punching Palmer on the morning of February 15 with his left fist in an elevator at Revel Casino in Atlantic City.

The suspension was later lifted, clearing the way for the athlete to join any team.

‘I made a horrible mistake in my life, but, you know, if you truly believe in second chances, you know, they will forgive me,’ Rice told CBS Baltimore in late 2014.

Initially, Rice was sidelined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for only two games following the one-punch knockout of his then-fiancee.

However, after security video of the altercation surfaced on TMZ, the Ravens released the three-time Pro Bowler from his $35 million contract.

Despite repeated attempts, Rice’s campaign to get a new contract elsewhere have seen no payoffs.

‘I understand why maybe a few teams or teams shy away from me,’ Rice said. ‘I understand that because it’s a privilege. It truly is a privilege to play in the NFL. It’s a privilege to play professional sports.

‘I treated this year, for me being out, as an injury year except for it wasn’t physical — it was mental…It was everything about rehabilitating myself to be the best husband, father, and go out there and share my story. I’m not afraid to say right now that I feel like I’m a rehabilitated man. I took this year as an injury mentally. Mentally, I just went through a lot.’

Rice, a six-year NFL veteran who possesses a combination of speed, quickness and strength, continues to sit by the phone with training camps set to begin this month. His agent, Todd France, has been contacting teams looking to get Rice a tryout.

Rita Smith, a former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and now a consultant to the NFL, said Rice deserves a second chance – with conditions.

‘He’s paid a pretty huge price just because his particular case was so much more public than anyone else’s,’ she said.

‘This is probably his last chance, if he gets one. It’s up to him whether or not he makes the best of this. He needs to show that he’s learned something about the actions that he took that night.’

Former NFL player Walker said Rice’s chance to re-enter the league could be hurt by the changing nature of the game, where running backs are not the hot commodity they used to be. Also, Rice sat out last season and his 2013 campaign was the least productive of his career.

Source: The DailyMail

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