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Harbaugh on Rice: I love the way he's handled it but hate what happened

By Ryan Wilson |

John Harbaugh doesn't condone the actions, but he's proud of the way Ray Rice has handled a tough situation.' (USATSI)
John Harbaugh 'hates what happened,' regarding the incident that led to Ray Rice's suspension. (USATSI)

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The two-game suspension the NFL handed down to Ravens running back Ray Rice for a physical altercation with his now-wife, Janay Palmer, has been widely criticized as too lenient. Still, the league has called the punishment "appropriate," and Rice was on the receiving end of loud cheers from fans during Monday's practice.

And on Wednesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh lauded Rice for making the most of a tough situation.

“I love the way he's handled it,” Harbaugh said, via PFT. “I hate what happened. What happened was wrong, flat out. The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterwards by acknowledging that it was wrong and he'll do everything he can do to make it right. That's what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So I'm proud of him for that, from that standpoint."

But Harbaugh wants to be clear about exactly what he's saying.

"And for anybody out there who's going to misconstrue that and just write, ‘John Harbaugh is proud of Ray,' then shame on you," he continued. "I'm proud of him for the way he's handled it, OK? Disappointed in what happened, but you go forward. You know, you go forward. That's what we're going to do as a football team, and that's what we're going to do as an individual, he'll do as an individual.”

Harbaugh, however, wasn't interested in addressing whether the punishment fit the crime.

“There's no way I'm going to comment on the length of it," he said, "but I know this: Those that make those decisions do so with great seriousness. They aim to be just and fair and they aim to do right by all parties involved.”

And while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't spoken publicly on the matter, he's expected to meet with the media this weekend during the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

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