Head Coach John Harbaugh commented Friday for the first time about the arrest of star running back
During an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine, Harbaugh discussed the arrest of Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer on domestic violence charges following an incident at an Atlantic City casino.
“The facts will determine the consequences, always,” Harbaugh said. “That’s always the case. It’s a process.”
Harbaugh was then asked if there is a scenario where he could see Rice not being part of the Ravens in 2014.
“Not that I’m aware of,” he responded. “I haven’t seen anything that would remotely make me think that.”
An Atlantic City court summons alleges that Rice struck Palmer with his hand and rendered her unconscious. Security video released by TMZ showed Rice pulling Palmer, who appeared unconscious, out of an elevator. Rice’s attorney Michael Diamondstein confirmed the video as authentic but incomplete.
Harbaugh confirmed that he has spoken with Rice over the phone since his arrest.
“Ray and I are real close,” Harbaugh said. “We have been for a long time, so it’s an easy conversation to have. I love Janay. She’s a great person.
“The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they’re both committed to doing that. That was the main takeaway for me from the conversation. They understand their own issues. They’re getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive. That was the main takeaway.”
Harbaugh reiterated what General Manager Ozzie Newsome said earlier in the week about Rice, that he is still part of the plans for 2014 based on the information that the Ravens have received. The running back plans to participate in the team’s voluntary workout program, Harbaugh said.
As more information is released through court proceedings and media, the NFL could still hand down a punishment. Some have speculated that a suspension is likely, but Rice does not have any history of violence or prior arrests to consider.
“There are a lot of facts and a process that has to be worked through in anything like this,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of question marks. But Ray’s character, you guys know his character, so you start with that.”