Baltimore Ravens: Roger Goodell

Good news had been harder to come by than rushing yards for Ray Rice.

But his acceptance into a pretrial diversion program on Tuesday should lead to a pending assault charge against the Ravens running back getting dropped.

It could also mark a significant milestone if Rice ultimately redeems himself following a nightmarish 2013 campaign that spilled into the offseason.

A video of Rice dragging his fiancée following a mid-February fight in Atlantic City went viral and ultimately led to his indictment in late March for allegedly hitting Janay Palmer, who is now his wife.

The pretrial diversion program will allow Rice to avoid jail time as well as a conviction on his permanent record. That doesn’t mean the three-time Pro Bowler is in the clear as he tries to rehabilitate his once-pristine image and revive his football career.

Rice is still subject to discipline for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and commissioner Roger Goodell has never hesitated to come down on players who tarnish the league’s image.

Goodell may feel compelled to discipline Rice and even suspend him for the start of the 2014 season considering how closely others who have been punished by Goodell will be watching.

However Goodell proceeds in this matter, Rice can at least be optimistic that he is on the road back and that he can largely focus on football. Few if any players will be more motivated than Rice going into next season.

He rushed for 660 yards and four touchdowns and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in 2013. A sputtering running game was one of the main reasons why the Ravens slipped to 8-8 and did not get the chance to defend their Super Bowl title in the playoffs.

And it only got worse for Rice after the much-publicized altercation in Atlantic City delivered a jarring hit to his reputation.

His acceptance into the pretrial diversion program doesn't put all of Rice's troubles behind him.

But it is a start to working his way back, and given how the last year has played out for Rice, he will probably take what he can get right now.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs became the latest player from the defending champions to bring up a conspiracy theory for the Super Bowl blackout, pointing the finger at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the unprecedented Super Bowl moment.

“I was like Vegas, parlor tricks, you know what I mean?," Suggs said on ESPN's "E:60." "I was like, ahh, Roger Goodell, he never stops, he always has something up his sleeve. He just couldn’t let us have this one in a landslide huh?”

Asked if he thought Goodell had turned the lights out, Suggs said, “I thought he had a hand in it. Most definitely, he had a hand in it."

Can we all agree to stop coming up with these ridiculous accusations? This makes the Ravens look more paranoid than prestigious. I could see the Ravens continually talking about this if they had lost. But the Ravens overcame that 34-minute delay and just have to let it go.

The Superdome, where the Super Bowl was held, is an old building. The company responsible for supplying power to the stadium said after the game that faulty equipment was to blame for the blackout. It does not sound like CSI New Orleans has to get involved with this one.

It is not like this is the first time the lights had gone out in an NFL game. In December 2011, I was at San Francisco's Candlestick Park when there were two power outages. I guess Goodell really wanted the 49ers to beat the Steelers that time.

This Super Bowl conspiracy theory started when linebacker Ray Lewis hinted on the "America's Game" documentary series that the power outage may have been a ploy to help the 49ers regroup. Now, Suggs thinks Goodell was involved.

My hope is we can turn the lights out on all of these crazy conspiracy theories.