(Reuters) - Embattled former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in an interview on Tuesday said he hopes to land with another NFL team because he “took full responsibility” for his one-punch knockout of his then-fiancée.
Rice, a three-time Pro Bowler, was reinstated to the National Football League on Nov. 28 but it was unclear if any club would sign the six-year veteran.
For him to get back on the field, Rice told NBC’s “Today” program that a team owner would have to be “willing to look deeper into who I am and realize that me and my wife had one bad night.”
”I took full responsibility for it,“ he said in the interview, which was previously taped at Rice’s home in Baltimore. ”And one thing about my punishment and everything going along with anything that happened is that I’ve accepted it.
“I went fully forward with it. I never complained, or I never did anything like that... The only thing I can hope for and wish for is a second chance.”
Rice and Janay Palmer had a fight in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator in March and the altercation was caught on surveillance tape. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for two games after video emerged of Rice pulling an unconscious Palmer from the elevator.
But when a second tape materialized in September of Rice punching Palmer, the Ravens cut Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. An independent arbitrator ruled, however, that Rice was essentially punished twice for the same crime and was free to sign with any team.
Rice, who has since married Palmer, said that although “we weren’t in a perfect relationship,” he had never hit her before or since.
”We’ve had arguments, but when you talk about abuse, that’s something that we know that we’d never cross that path,“ he said. ”But then did we say things to each other that we want to take back at times? Yeah, we crossed that line before.
“But it never got to an altercation where it went that far. That was just very uncharacteristic of myself.”
Rice, 27, is trying to recoup a portion of the $35 million he lost when the Ravens cut him.
“If I never play football again, I’ll be honest with you, I would adapt into life and I would sacrifice more so (Palmer) can have a better future,” he said.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Susan Heavey