Ray Rice discusses 'unique' comeback attempt, cites public opinion

Ray Rice remains hopeful that he can return to playing in the NFL but acknowledged that public opinion after his domestic violence incident presents a "unique" obstacle to his comeback attempt.

Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens running back, told ESPN's Jemele Hill that he thinks NFL teams have been hesitant to sign him because of the surveillance video, released last year, of Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer inside a casino elevator.

"We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that," Rice said during an interview Tuesday. "Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak. ... I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video -- that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I've ever made in my life."

Rice, 28, said he considers himself a "rehabilitated man" and that he has tried to convey that point to potentially interested teams.

"The conversations that I had with them is more to understand the magnitude of my situation," he said. "I know that it's a unique deal, so I just try to honestly live day to day and stay hopeful for that opportunity."

Rice admitted, however, that he realizes he faces a substantial challenge in regaining the public's support and trust.

"I can understand some people probably never will forgive my actions," he said. "But I think that every step that I took going forward right now -- over time, I want to be able to rewrite the script, to tell my daughter that daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward.

"To the survivors of domestic violence, I understand how real it is, and I don't want to ever take that for granted because this is a real issue in our society. My video put the light out there -- if you have never seen what domestic violence looks like and you look at my video, I could understand why some people would never forgive me."

Rice said on multiple occasions that he wants to "hang them up the right way" but also emphasized that he understands playing in the NFL is a "privilege."

"I understand why maybe a few teams or teams shy away from me," Rice said. "I understand that because it's a privilege. It truly is a privilege to play in the NFL. It's a privilege to play professional sports.

"I always preach one or two bad decisions, and your dream could become a nightmare. Well, I had to eat my own words. I truly lived a nightmare. There is no set in stone whether you're going to get a second chance or not. I have to set my hope and faith and everything else that I'm doing in my life, I'm just really hopeful for a second chance."

Rice has not played since he was released by the Ravens last season. He has relocated from Baltimore to Connecticut and has received support from a group of advocates, including former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, who are contacting NFL teams in an attempt to get him into an NFL training camp.

Rice also addressed his disappointing performance during the 2013 season, when he rushed for 660 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry -- both career lows. A three-time Pro Bowler, Rice cited a hip injury that limited his production in 2013, but also said he doesn't think his health is preventing him from signing with another NFL team.

"I treated this year, for me being out, as an injury year except for it wasn't physical -- it was mental," he said. "It was everything about rehabilitating myself to be the best husband, father, and go out there and share my story. I'm not afraid to say right now that I feel like I'm a rehabilitated man. I took this year as an injury mentally. Mentally, I just went through a lot."