Michael Vick wants former Ravens running back Ray Rice to know he has a friend in the Jets quarterback.
Rice is now out of the NFL after a surveillance video surfaced this week of him punching his wife in the elevator of a New Jersey casino. The incident, which happened earlier this year, was already investigated by the league and Rice was originally suspended two games by the NFL. But with the release of the latest disturbing video, the league suspended Rice indefinitely and the Ravens released him.
Vick, of course, was arrested and served prison time for his role in a dog fighting ring which included beating and killing dogs. Vick has since worked to rehab his image.
“I think everybody deserves a second chance. Everybody,” Vick said on Wednesday following practice. “Regardless of what has been done, depending on the magnitude of [it]. Obviously, in this situation I think he deserves a second chance. There's going to be a grace period. I think we all just need to sit back and reflect on what's been done. Ray has to figure out what's best for him moving forward. I think the people in the proper decisions will make the right decision when the time comes from him.”
Vick noted Rice “has some issues he needs to work on,” but is hopeful the running back will return to the league at some point. Vick said he will call Rice and offer him council.
“He still has a friend over here. Just because somebody makes a mistake, you just can't abandon [him]. You can't just can't walk away from him, put a doormat on him,” Vick said. “You got to encourage him. But ultimately at the end of the day, Ray has to take care of Ray and his issues. You can't help with that, you can only be there with him for a split second.”
There was a public outcry over what was popularly deemed as a slap on the wrist when Rice was suspended just two games initially. The league since formed a new policy on domestic violence, which included a six-game suspension for a first offense. The new suspension policy did not include Rice, the league said.
But after the latest video of Rice surfaced, the league then retroactively exceeded that standard with the indefinite suspension.
“I think they're doing everything appropriate to make sure they make the right decision. Obviously, you're not always going to get it right,” Vick said. “I think this was kind of a trial and error period where you have to go through it to figure out what the proper solution for it should be– now and going forward. I think this is a situation where you have to let the process play out. At the end of the day, everybody did the right thing.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.