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John Harbaugh says he expects Ray Rice to remain with Ravens following arrest

INDIANAPOLIS — As Ravens running back Ray Rice continues to deal with the legal fallout from his arrest at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino, his job apparently remains secure.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday at the NFL scouting combine that he expects Rice to remain with the team.

When asked whether there were scenarios under which Rice wouldn't be on the roster next season, Harbaugh said: “Not that I'm aware of. I haven't seen anything that would remotely make me think that.”

Rice was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence after a physical altercation with his fiancee early Saturday morning at Revel Casino. Atlantic City law enforcement officials have referred the case to the county prosecutor’s office for review.

While Rice goes through the legal process, the NFL will review his status under the league's personal conduct policy. Although Rice doesn’t have a history of off-field problems and, until the incident, was better known as an anti-bullying advocate, a suspension is possible. Under the collective bargaining agreement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has broad discretionary powers, regardless of how a case is adjudicated.

Video of Rice dragging his fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of a casino elevator was obtained by TMZ and released Wednesday. Atlantic City police said they based their arrest on video surveillance, saying Rice rendered Palmer unconscious.

A Tuesday hearing for Rice and Palmer was postponed, and a new date has not yet been scheduled.

“The facts will determine the consequences,” Harbaugh said. “That's always the case, right? It's a process. We have to see how it goes.”

With the case still pending in court, Harbaugh acknowledged the complexities of the situation.

“There’s a lot of facts, a lot of process that has to be worked through in anything like this,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of question marks. Ray's character … you guys know his character. You start with that.”

Harbaugh, who said Rice and Palmer remain engaged to be married and are getting counseling for their relationship, spoke to Rice on the telephone after his arrest.

“Ray and I, we're close,” Harbaugh said. “We have been for a long time, so it's an easy conversation to have. I love Janay. She's a great person. The two people, obviously, they've got a couple of issues they have got to work through. They are both committed to doing that.

“That was the main takeaway for me from the conversation. They understand all the issues. They're getting a lot of counseling and those kind of things. That's very positive. That was the main takeaway.”

Rice is coming off a disappointing season in which he rushed for only 660 yards while dealing with hip and quadriceps injuries. He struggled to elude defenders or break tackles, and wasn’t nearly as explosive as he had been over three Pro Bowl seasons with the Ravens, who fell to 30th in the NFL in rushing offense.

Rice was also much heavier last season, weighing as much as 217 pounds, according to Harbaugh. In the past, Rice’s playing weight has been about 207 pounds.

“What the weight ends up being, we’ll see, but it’s [got to be] lighter, a lot lighter,” said Harbaugh, adding that Rice is expected to participate in the Ravens’ offseason conditioning program, which starts in April. “To me, it’s under 210, for sure. It was too big. Ray is pretty consistent. It’s not like Ray fluctuated. Ray didn’t get fat.

“Ray just got big and thick. His body fat only went up 2 pounds from what it was when he was a rookie, so the rest of that weight was all muscle mass. It’s just too much muscle mass.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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