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Ravens' Ray Rice suspended two games by NFL

The league has weighed in on the fate of Ray Rice.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Baltimore Ravens running back will be suspended for the first two games of the regular season under the NFL's personal conduct policy, per a source informed of the league's plans.

The NFL later announced the two-game suspension and added that Rice will also be fined a third game check. 

The ban comes in response to Rice allegedly striking his then-fiancée and now wife, Janay, unconscious in February in Atlantic City. The couple was arrested on simple assault charges, but Rice was able to avoid prosecution after being accepted into a pre-trial intervention program.

In a statment to Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the punishment comes with the expectation that the running back will continue his counceling.

"You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting," Goodell wrote. "As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.

"I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations."

The 27-year-old runner spent the offseason getting back into the type of shape that once made him one of the most versatile backs in the game. He's down 20 pounds from his bulky 2013 playing weight, but that won't help the team out of the gate.

The suspension will keep Rice out of the lineup for Baltimore's season-opening tilts against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. The seventh-year back will be eligible to suit up in time for the team's Week 3 tilt with the Cleveland Browns.

Rice's absence means a larger load for a now-healthy Bernard Pierce early in the year. The Ravens also plan to use Justin Forsett in a backfield that should remain a committee even after Rice returns to the fold.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" offers up team-by-team training camp previews of the NFC East and NFC West.

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