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Ray Rice: No public apology to wife a 'mistake'

Before the discovery of Ray Rice's assault video this past summer, the former Baltimore Ravens running back came under fire for a staged May press conference in which he read a prepared statement from a cell phone.

The heaviest criticism was directed at Rice's failure to issue a public apology to his wife, Janay, following their February incident in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

During a Tuesday interview with Matt Lauer of NBC's *Today *show, Rice acknowledged making a "horrendous mistake" in not apologizing to his wife that day.

"The reason why that press conference was the way it was, was because we were still under legal situations," Rice told Lauer. "So there wasn't much that could be said, but I'll be honest, we were nervous, I was nervous, and that was the first time we were available to speak. And I made a horrendous mistake not apologizing to my wife.

"We were given what to speak about," Rice admitted. "It wasn't truly coming from us, if you can understand, but I made that clear in my last time I was able to speak that my wife is an angel. She can do no wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions."

Contrasted with Rice's lack of public remorse in their first time addressing the media, Janay's own apology went beyond the level of eyebrow-raising. Rice explained that he viewed her mea culpa as an effort to protect his reputation, given his career that hinges on public image.

Although Rice is now eligible to return to the NFL, he understands job offers might not be forthcoming.

"(Teams) would have to be willing to, you know, look deeper into who I am and realize that me and my wife had one bad night, and I took full responsibility for it," Rice said. "And one thing about my punishment ... I took full responsibility for everything that I did, and the only thing I can hope for and wish for is a second chance."

Rice has been drawing interest as a street free agent but isn't expected to find a team willing to risk a publicity hit until 2015. If that second chance never surfaces, Rice insists he will be at peace with his career and his relationship.

"If I never play football again," Rice said, "I'll be honest with you, I would adapt into life and I would sacrifice more so she can have a better future."

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