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Ray Rice cheered in preseason opener

Rice received welcome from home fans. Jason Butt

Print This August 08, 2014, 10:35 AM EST

Though he was alleged to have assaulted his now-wife at a casino in New Jersey, the Baltimore fans offered their support to Ray Rice with a standing ovation.

Since the February incident, Rice has caught a lot of national heat but has been backed by the Ravens franchise and the community of Baltimore.

“It means the world to me," Rice told reporters after Baltimore's 23-3 preseason win against the 49ers. "Everything that I’ve been through — I don’t take it for granted, especially playing the game. I know it’s only preseason, but you know what, when you’re out there, it’s like a regular season game. And that’s how I have to approach this preseason, because I know what’s coming forward."

While no video evidence showing the alleged assault has surfaced publicly, a video given to TMZ showed Rice dragging his unconscious wife — his fiancée at the time — out of an elevator at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Rice and his wife, Janay Rice, were arrested. Chargers were later dropped against Janay Rice.

Rice pleaded not guilty and was accepted into a pretrial diversion program, which will allow the charge to be expunged if he completes what's required of him.

The Baltimore fans may be backing Rice. But Rice should be ready for what he'll receive in opposing stadiums all year long, and that begins next Saturday at Dallas. You can bet the cheers Rice heard at M&T Bank Stadium will be replaced by boos and jeers inside the house that Jerry built.

Follow me on Twitter: @JasonHButt

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