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John Harbaugh says Ravens 'respect' NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decisions

The Baltimore Sun

In the wake of Roger Goodell implementing tougher punishments for domestic-violence offenders, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he respects the NFL commissioner's decisions.

Goodell acknowledged Thursday in a letter to NFL owners that he "didn't get it right" in suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy stemming from his felony aggravated assault case, a decision that's been widely criticized as being overly lenient.

Goodell rolled out an expanded discipline system Thursday in a letter to NFL owners headlined by a six-game suspension for first offenses involving domestic violence or sexual assault and potential lifetime bans for second offenses with players potentially able to be reinstated after a year.

"I haven't seen any of the comments or anything like that, but we respect the decisions that the commissioner has made in the past," Harbaugh said following the Ravens' 22-13 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. "We said we would respect his decisions throughout this whole thing and we will respect his decisions going forward in the future."

In the locker room and when he headed toward the team bus following the game, Rice wasn't made available to comment by team officials when he was approached by reporters. Rice, who has previously apologized for the incident involving a physical altercation with his then-fiancee, whom he has since married, at an Atlantic City casino, begins serving his suspension next week.

The three-time Pro Bowl runner is eligible for reinstatement for the Ravens' third regular-season game Sept. 21 against the Cleveland Browns.

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