From 2009-2012, Ray Rice rushed for over 1,000 yards in each season and made three Pro Bowls in four years. He was one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL at the time, but his career didn’t last too long after that stretch. Despite being the Baltimore Ravens‘ leading rusher, Rice was out of the NFL by 2014 because of a frightening domestic violence incident caught on video.
Ray Rice’s NFL career
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Ray Rice became a bonified star in the NFL shortly after his debut in 2008. In his second season out of Rutgers, Rice rushed for 1,339 yards and seven touchdowns for the Ravens. He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 at just 22 years of age.
Rice rushed for over 1,100 yards in four straight seasons from 2009-12. He scored 39 total touchdowns during that stretch and made three out of four Pro Bowls.
During the 2012 season, Rice was instrumental in the Ravens‘ Super Bowl run. He rushed for 306 total yards in Baltimore’s four playoff games that season, including 131 against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round.
Rice totaled 78 yards from scrimmage in the Ravens’ Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. His career was just hitting its peak, but Rice would be out of the league within two years of his Super Bowl triumph.
Rice was caught on video punching his fiancee in 2014
In February of 2014, Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, visited a casino in Atlantic City. The two started arguing as they entered an elevator alone, but what happened inside was much worse.
When the elevator door closed, Rice struck Palmer. Palmer retaliated, but when she approached Rice he punched her across the face with his left fist. The blow knocked Palmer to the floor, hitting her head against the elevator rail in the process and knocking her out cold.
A separate video released earlier showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator and through the hallway. Rice and Palmer were arrested that day on simple assault charges.
Nothing came of the arrest until a few days later when the first video surfaced. TMZ leaked the video of Rice dragging Palmer’s unconscious body out of the elevator four days after the incident. In the following days, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and owner Ozzie Newsome came to Rice’s defense.
Rice wasn’t suspended until July of 2014. The NFL docked Rice just two games for the 2014 season.
The Ravens released Rice after full video emerged online
On Sept. 8, 2014, the full video of Rice punching Palmer in the face surfaced online. The graphic elevator footage had not been seen by the Ravens or the public, but the NFL reportedly did see the video before they suspended Rice for two games.
That same day, the Ravens cut Rice after seeing the violent video. He would never find another NFL job again.
Rice is still retired today, six years after he played his final NFL game. His assault changed the way the NFL handles domestic violence in the league, so some positives did come out of Rice’s darkest moment and banishment from the league.
Rice still had plenty left in the tank in 2014, but a poor decision off the field ruined his NFL career forever.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference