NFL Commissioner on Ray Rice Return: "I Don't Rule That Out"

Ray Rice - H 2014
AP Images

Ray Rice - H 2014

"But we would have to be fully confident that he is addressing this issue"

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Ray Rice could potentially play in the NFL again.

"I don't rule that out, but we would have to be fully confident that he is addressing this issue. Clearly, he has paid a price for the actions that he has already taken," Goodell said in an interview with CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell. Still, Goodell admitted he hadn't considered what circumstances would lead to him lifting Rice's suspension.

"I haven't thought about that because right now, I think the focus is he's got a lot of work to do, the family has a lot of work to do," he added. "We're going to obviously provide whatever resources we can to help them work through that. At the same time, we're going to continue to try to implement our policies and our revised education and training so that we can get to people and help people and their families make the wiser decision — and know they have resources available."

The full interview, a video of which is embedded below, aired on Wednesday on CBS This Morning after excerpts were featured on Tuesday's CBS Evening News.

Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Monday after a video surfaced of him punching and knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.

Goodell and the NFL have come under fire for not doing more earlier. In July, the league suspended Rice for two games after the domestic abuse charges came to light —  a punishment many critics said fell too short.

But Goodell told CBS he is used to facing critics and that he does not fear for his job.

"I'm used to the criticism. I'm used to that every day. I have to earn my stripes."

Goodell also repeated what the NFL has said — that it never saw the disturbing video until Monday, insisting that not only he, but no one in the NFL, had seen the video before Monday.

"We were told that was not something we would have access to," he said of the video. "On multiple occasions, we asked for it. And on multiple occasions we were told no. I understand that there may be legal restrictions on them sharing that with us. And we've heard that from attorneys general and former attorneys general."

When pressed, Goodell added that the league didn't know what was on the tape and wouldn't force law enforcement officials to share anything they weren't allowed to release.

Still, the NFL commissioner admitted he "absolutely" wished he had seen the video before it was released by TMZ.

When asked why he needed to see Rice punching his then-fiancee in the face, when video had already surfaced of her lying unconscious on the floor being dragged out by her feet, Goodell said it was still "ambigious" what actually happened, even after meeting with Rice and his representatives.

"We did not know what led up to that. We did not know the details of that," he said. "What we saw yesterday was extremely clear and graphic and was absolutely necessary for us to take the action we did."

Goodell went on to say that the existence of just one domestic violence case in the NFL is a sign that the league has a problem.

"One case is too many. One," he explained. "What we have to do is go back and say, 'If we have one case, that's something we've got to address. If we have multiple cases, we have to change our training and our education to try and eliminate that issue.'"

Earlier on Tuesday, a new report from TMZ, which first posted the video, claimed the NFL never sought to obtain the surveillance video from the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where the domestic violence occurred.

The interview was a coup for CBS, which was the first to nab a sit-down with Goodell since the news broke on Monday. CBS also airs Thursday Night Football, which will feature a Ravens-Steelers game this week.

Sept. 10, 6:04 a.m. This story has been updated to add additional information from O'Donnell's full interview with Goodell, which aired on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, as well as video of the sit-down.