Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday of third degree aggravated assault. The indictment stemmed from an incident at an Atlantic City casino on February 15th, in which Rice allegedly struck his fiancee, Janay Palmer, knocking her unconscious. If convicted, Rice faces a potential of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
ON A HUMAN LEVEL... Bad news for Rice that transcends fantasy football. Until this incident, Rice has had a pretty squeaky clean image in the NFL. So, it's no surprise that the Ravens organization has steadfastly stood by him, saying that regardless of this incident , Rice has a future with the team. Rice's lawyer stated that he and his fiancee are taking counseling sessions and are still committed to one another. Hopefully, the motives are good for both parties and things get worked out.
FROM A FANTASY PERSPECTIVE... Keep an eye on this. If convicted, it's likely that RIce will not play in 2014 (and possibly beyond). This means that RB Bernard Pierce would get an opportunity to be the bell cow. Neither back was overly effective in 2013. Rice had the worst season of his career, rushing for only 660 yards and four touchdowns, while averaging only 3.1 yards per tote. Pierce only gained 2.9 yards per carry, rushing for 436 yards and two touchdowns.
While this may not have been a "need" the Ravens anticipated having to fill in this year's draft, don't be surprised if they spend a late-round pick on a running back. Even if they do, expect Pierce to be the first guy to get a crack at the majority of carries if Rice misses the season.