Ray Rice issues apology to fans

Baltimore, MD ( - Ray Rice issued a statement Friday morning to The Baltimore Sun apologizing to fans and thanking the Ravens and the city.

Rice was suspended last season by the NFL after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator last February.

"This is not a farewell or goodbye. The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives," Rice said in the statement. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you've shown my family and I throughout my football career. We'll always be grateful for the love we've received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl.

"To all the kids who looked up to me, I'm truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it's helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people's lives by raising awareness of this issue."

Rice also thanked Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh.

"I love you all very much, and I'll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens," he said.

Rice was initially suspended for two games by commissioner Roger Goodell, but after the video showing him punching his now-wife Janay Palmer was made public, he was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely.

He was reinstated by the league in November after winning an appeal of his suspension. He has yet to sign with a team.