General Manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear Monday that running back Ray Rice was a still a big part of the 2014 season. Newsome added he didn't know much about the situation surrounding Rice's recent arrest in Atlantic City at the Revel Casino, and wanted to get all the answers before making decisions.
With more information coming to light over the last couple of days, many are wondering about Rice's status with the team.
A copy of the summons issued by the Atlantic City Municipal Court, obtained by WJZ, alleges that Rice struck his fiancée Janay Palmer with his hand, rendering her unconscious. Palmer was also issued a summons for striking Rice with her hand. TMZ posted a video that showed Rice lifting a seemingly unconscious Palmer by her arms out of an elevator at the casino and laying her on the ground. Rice's attorney confirmed the video as authentic but incomplete.
"The video that has been put up by TMZ shows the very end of what transpired between Ray and his fiancée," Michael Diamondstein, Rice's attorney, told The Baltimore Sun Wednesday prior to the summons being released. He offered no further statement about the summons.
"We are confident that by the time all of the facts are in the open, the public will have a complete and true picture of what actually transpired, and we just ask that the public remember what a high-character, good person Ray is, and that they reserve judgment until all the facts are out."
A Ravens spokesman told The Sun: "We have seen the video, this is a serious matter and we are currently gathering more information."
Rice is due in court Tuesday.
As the Ravens continue looking into the situation, so will the NFL. According to multiple reports, the league will review Rice's case and he could face discipline under the NFL's personal conduct policy. The league has previously fined and suspended players, even if they haven't been convicted of a crime. NFL Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Aiello told CSNBaltimore.com that a review of such a case is "standard procedure" for the league.
"NFL discipline can include suspensions, fines, banishment from the league, a probationary period where conditions have to be satisfied before reinstatement or a formal reprimand," wrote The Sun's Aaron Wilson.
Noting that the Ravens have never rushed to judgment in domestic cases with their players in the past, ESPN's Jamison Hensley believes the franchise faces a difficult decision with Rice.
"If the Ravens stand by Rice, they're going to face increasing pressure from fans and negative media attention to cut him," Hensley wrote. "If the Ravens cut Rice, they will lose a significant chunk of their salary cap, which will derail some of their offseason plans to bounce back from last season's disappointing 8-8 season. The Ravens are in a lose-lose situation with Rice."
While the Ravens have made absolutely no indication that they would do so, cutting Rice would reportedly cost the team $5.5 million this season, per Hensley. That's more than what they gained by agreeing with Terrell Suggs to a contract extension. If they designated Rice as a post-June 1 cut, they would reportedly save $4 million this year, but it would reportedly count $9.5 million against the cap next season. * *
"Some fans have asked about a 'moral clause' that would allow the Ravens to cut Rice without taking a cap hit," Hensley wrote. "That is unrealistic. The other 31 teams in the league aren't going to let the Ravens have a pass because a player was arrested. Do you think the Ravens would allow the Steelers to cut a player without suffering the cap consequences just because that player was arrested? No."
Ravens brass are in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, and Newsome is scheduled to speak with media Saturday. That may be the next time the Ravens address Rice's case.
Small-School Star That Could Shine: Towson's Terrance West
The combine could be big for Towson running back Terrance West.
In a Sports Illustrated article on small-school stars that could shine in Indianapolis, West was named as one who could "rise up from out of nowhere to impress the general public."
West put enough on tape to earn an invitation to the combine, and now has a chance to prove what he can do against competition from bigger schools.
"West will try to match tackle Jermon Bushrod's current NFL success as a Towson alum, and the numbers are certainly ridiculous — he ran for 2,509 yards and 42 touchdowns in 2013 alone, including 354 yards in the FCS quarterfinal against Eastern Illinois," wrote SI.com's Doug Farrar.
Hensley was asked if West would make a good fit for the Ravens if they picked him up in a mid- to late-round.
"I'm biased because I watched West play for Towson," Hensley wrote. "Anyone who picks him up in the middle rounds will be getting a very good player. Would make for a good story if the Ravens did. It would be like 1996 when the Ravens used a fifth-rounder on an undersized Maryland WR named Jermaine Lewis."
Don't Expect Ravens To Trade Up
If the Ravens had their eye on an elite player that could be taken off the board before their No. 17 draft pick, would they make a trade to move up and nab him?
Newsome has shown in the past that he isn't afraid to pull the trigger on a trade, but Hensley doesn't see him moving up this year. The Ravens already traded away fourth- and fifth-round picks to acquire left tackle Eugene Monroe in October.
There isn't a lot of remaining fire power to move up.
"[The] Ravens have only four picks (first, second, third and sixth). Even if they get four comp picks, they can't trade those," Henley explained. "I don't see how they can trade up even if Jerry Rice was sitting there at the top of the draft."
Don't expect the Ravens to use those few picks on a position like quarterback either. One fan opined that Tyrod Taylor may not be the ideal backup to Joe Flacco, and thought the Ravens could use a pick to better solidify the position.
"The Ravens have so many needs that I don't see them using a draft pick on a quarterback, unless there is someone who really intrigues them," Hensley wrote. "Even then, I don't see the Ravens going with a rookie at No. 2. The team has brought in competition for Tyrod Taylor in the past (Curtis Painter and Caleb Hanie). I expect them to do the same and sign someone with experience to compete against Taylor."
Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti lobbied for his friend and Ex-Terps coach Gary Williams to be inducted into Hall of Fame. [The Baltimore Sun]
Terrell Suggs is the Ravens' $89 million linebacker. [ESPN]
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