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Rice Will Open 2014 With Two-Game Suspension
The Ravens and fantasy football owners have known for a while that they’d likely be without Ray Rice at the start of the 2014 season. Now, they know exactly how long the veteran running back will be sidelined.

According to multiple reports, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down a two-game suspension to Rice for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, sources confirmed Thursday.

The league has not officially announced it, but the Baltimore Sun and ESPN's Adam Schefter are both reporting details of the suspension, which Schefter believes will be announced by the league today.

According to both reports, the suspension will keep the three-time Pro Bowl selection out of divisional games against the Cincinnati Bengals (Sept. 7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (Sept. 11).

Under terms of the two-game suspension, Rice would lose two game checks for a total of $470,588.

Schefter reports that Rice will be fined an additional $58,000 on top of the lost salary.

The news comes more than five weeks after Goodell met with Rice and his wife on June 16 at the league’s New York City headquarters and questioned them about their Feb. 15 physical altercation in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J. casino.

Bernard Pierce, who is expected to be ready for training camp after having offseason shoulder surgery, should temporarily take over the starting role, assuming he is healthy enough to handle it.

The Ravens also signed veteran free agent Justin Forsett and selected Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro in the fourth round of the draft.

Still, Rice’s absence will provide a significant challenge for an offense that is hoping to feature a resurgent ground game following a season in which the Ravens set a franchise-low in rushing yards.

Rice has started all but four games since 2009 and missed just one contest -- Week 3 last season cause of a hip flexor --since his rookie year in 2008.

Though he’s coming off the most disappointing season of his career, Rice reported for OTAs in better shape and at a lighter weight than last year. Coaches and teammates have claimed he looks much quicker as a result.

And now that we know he'll be missing the first two games, we'll be watching his ADP in coming weeks. Pierce's ability to fill the void -- and perhaps take advantage of his opportunity -- will be factors in determining Rice's ultimate draft value.

It will be something we'll all be watching closely next month.