BALTIMORE — Running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday, the same day a shocking video surfaced showing the NFL star knocking out his future wife with a punch in February.
The news release from the Ravens was terse.
“The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon,” it read.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters Monday night that the team had not seen the video before it was released online by TMZ.
“It was something we saw for the first time today, all of us. It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different,” he said.
Harbaugh said he and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome called Rice to inform him of the decision. He declined to discuss what Rice said or how he reacted.
“I have nothing but hope and goodwill for Ray and Janay (now his wife),” Harbaugh added. “And we’ll do whatever we can going forward to help them as they go forward and try to make the best of it.”
Shortly after the team’s announcement, the league said the three-time Pro Bowl selection was suspended indefinitely.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had originally given Rice a two-game ban, increased the suspension after viewing the new video for the first time, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Twitter.
The NFL players’ union didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Former teammate and ESPN analyst Ray Lewis said he had texted with Rice on Monday.
Lewis, who played with the Ravens from 1996 to 2012, said on “Monday Night Countdown” that he will meet with Rice soon to counsel and mentor him.
“I want to sit down and I want to know what is going on in his heart,” said Lewis.
In a press conference in July, Rice said his actions were “inexcusable” and that he and his wife were in counseling. The couple married on March 28.
“We’re taking the necessary steps to move forward,” he said. “My job is to lead my family. My job is to lead my wife. My job is to lead in whatever I do. And If I’m not being the example, then my family crumbles.”
Before Rice, 27, can play again in the NFL, any potential contract cannot be approved without further direction from the commissioner, Aiello told CNN.
The Canadian Football League said Monday night Rice is ineligible to play in the CFL while he is suspended by the NFL.
Video shows what happened inside elevator
The new video shows Rice punching Janay Palmer, who was his fiancee at the time, inside an elevator at a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, seven months ago.
TMZ Sports posted the video Monday showing Rice and Palmer entering an elevator. Inside the elevator, Rice punches Palmer. Palmer lunges after Rice, and then Rice hits her again and she falls to the floor.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS IMAGES GRAPHIC IN NATURE. NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL AUDIENCES.
Previously, TMZ Sports had released hotel surveillance video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. This is the first time video has been released that shows Rice punching her.
A few months after the incident, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice without pay and fined him an additional game check for “conduct detrimental to the NFL.”
However, no one in the NFL offices, including Goodell, had seen the newly released footage of the incident until Monday, the league told CNN.
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said. “That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Rice won’t be prosecuted
The NFL has previously said that Rice entered a pretrial intervention program in May. Under the program, he won’t be prosecuted, and the felony charge — one count of third-degree aggravated assault — will be expunged after one year.