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Ray Rice thanks, apologizes to city of Baltimore

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Ray Rice is leaving Baltimore.

The running back plans to return to New York where he'll hone his focus on a second act in the NFL, according to The Baltimore Sun. The former Ravens star is approaching the one-year anniversary of an assault on his then-fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel. He has been eligible for reinstatement for months now, but has yet to sign with -- or work out for -- an NFL team.

Before his exit, though, Rice penned a goodbye note to the city.

Dear Baltimore,

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. 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. Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I. I'm very grateful to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and everyone at 1 Winning Drive. I love you all very much, and I'll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens. Thank you.

-- Ray Rice

Owner Steve Bisciotti has spoken at length about Rice's relationship with the city, which could be why Rice felt like the breakup warranted a letter. For the better part of seven years, he was part of the franchise's face throughout the area.

But at 28, and with plenty of carries already behind him, Rice already wasn't an in-demand prospect. Add in the fact that he'll have a tough time living down his past, and a move back home makes a lot of sense for now.

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