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Ray Rice: I'll donate salary if I get another NFL chance

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If Ray Rice has an opportunity to play in the NFL again, he plans to use his game checks to battle the issue of domestic violence.

The former Ravens running back was released by Baltimore in September 2014 after video surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice told USA TODAY's Tom Pelissero on Wednesday that he would donate his entire 2016 salary to organizations and programs aimed at the prevention of domestic violence and the support of its victims.

"All the scrutiny that I've got, it was deserved, because domestic violence is a horrible thing," Rice said. "Me donating my salary is something that'll be from the heart for me. I only want to play football so I can end it the right way for my kids and for the people that really believed in me. But I know there's a lot of people affected by domestic violence, and every dollar helps. It's raising awareness."

Said Rice: "People need homes. People need shelter when they're in a crucial situation. I've donated a lot of money to charities, but I had a situation where it was a national crisis. I'm not saying I'd be (donating the salary) to get on the field, but it's something that will show where my heart is. My heart is about finishing the right way and helping people along the way."

Rice has been working out near his home in Stamford, Connecticut. He married Janay soon after the incident and the couple have a four-year-old daughter, Rayven, with a second child due in September. Having not played since 2013, Rice has fielded no interest from NFL teams this offseason.

Since the incident, Rice has made a series of visits to colleges and also to the Ravens, where he shared about his mistakes.

"I think the biggest donation that you can give to domestic violence is your time," Rice said. "I'm not just going to be giving it because I have money. I'm going to be giving it because I did the background and the research and spent a lot of time with people who understand the cause.

"The only way to fix the problem is awareness. It's an epidemic. I know that my situation raised awareness. I'm not thankful for being that guy, but I'm thankful for the people that now are not afraid to ask for help, because I had to go get the help myself after to realize the severity of what domestic violence is."

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