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Ray Rice speaks out following release, suspension

Ray Rice has broken his silence.

A day after his contract was terminated by the Baltimore Ravens and he received an indefinite suspension from the NFL, Rice made his first public statement to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

"I have to be strong for my wife," Rice said, according to Anderson. "She is so strong. We are in good spirits. We have a lot of people praying for us and we'll continue to support each other. I have to be there for (Janay) and my family right now and work through this."

Rice's career was upended on Monday after TMZ posted footage of Rice striking his then-fiancee in an elevator, a blow that knocked Janay Palmer (now Rice) unconscious and led to his arrest on assault charges. In May, Ray Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that will prompt the dismissal of his charge if he successfully completes the program.

After Ray Rice spoke, he handed the phone to Janay Rice, who said, per Anderson: "I love my husband. I support him. I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter."

On Monday night, Ravens coach John Harbaughoffered support for the Rice family despite the team's decision to sever ties with its former star rusher.

"I have nothing but hope and good will for Ray and Janay and we'll do whatever we can going forward to help them as they go forward to try to make the best of it," Harbaugh said.

The Ravensannounced Tuesday they will offer an exchange for fans owning Ray Rice jerseys at official team stores.

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