There's no undermining how egregious Ray Rice was for punching his then-fiancée, now-wife Janay Rice in a hotel elevator in February 2014.
But since being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended by the NFL indefinitely in September and before winning his appeal and being reinstated to the league in late November, the veteran running back is hanging onto the hope that he can play in the NFL again.
"We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that," Rice told ESPN's Outside the Lines 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, went on to state that he's a "rehabilitated man" and wants NFL teams to know that as well.
"The conversations that I had with them is more to understand the magnitude of my situation," he said of potentially-interested NFL franchises. "I know that it's a unique deal, so I just try to honestly live day to day and stay hopeful for that opportunity."
He knows, however, that he's facing an uphill climb.
"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."
He added, "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."
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(Photo: REUTERS /BRENDAN MCDERMID /LANDOV)