Running back Ray Rice, released by the Baltimore Ravens after video surfaced of him knocking his then-fiancee unconscious in a New Jersey casino elevator, apologized on Friday to the team and the city of Baltimore for the "horrible mistake I made."
Rice, arrested after the assault last February, spent his entire seven-year National Football League career with the Ravens and is now hoping another team will give him a second chance.
Rice made his apology in a statement addressed to "Dear Baltimore" and said it was not a farewell.
"To all the kids who looked up to me, I'm truly sorry for letting you down but I hope it's helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare," he said in a statement.
"There is no excuse for domestic violence and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made."
The assault on Janay Palmer, who is now Rice's wife, was a catalyst for the NFL strengthening its policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.
"I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue," Rice said.
"The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown my family and I throughout my football career."
Rice was a three-time Pro Bowl running back and a major reason the Ravens won the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for two games for the altercation but suspended him indefinitely after graphic video surfaced from inside the Atlantic City elevator. At the same time Goodell suspended Rice, the Ravens cut him.
Rice had pleaded not guilty in May to a count of aggravated assault and was entered into a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders.
Although his suspension from the NFL was overturned, the 28-year-old Rice has yet to sign with another club.
"We’ll always be grateful for the love we’ve received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl," he said.
"I'll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens."
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Bill Trott)