Rice said Tuesday in an ESPN interview that he has undergone counseling and is continuing to speak against domestic violence since video surfaced last year showing him knocking out this then-fiancee Janay Palmer with a punch in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
"I'm not afraid to say right now I'm a rehabilitated man," Rice said. "Some people will probably never forgive my actions, but I think ... over time I want to be able to rewrite the script."
Rice said he contemplated suicide in the months afterward.
"I actually felt what it felt like for people to feel like it wasn't worth living. I felt like that at one point," he said. "I know what it felt like to not want to live anymore."
The 28-year-old Rice, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who played for the 2012 Super Bowl champion Ravens, is hopeful that a return to the NFL is in his future. He last played in 2013 and was limited to 660 yards rushing by a hip injury.
"I have a lot of hope and faith that I'll be able to hang 'em up the right way. That's what's keeping me going, keeping me working," he said.
"I always preach, one or two bad decisions, your dream can become a nightmare. Well, I had to eat my own words. I truly lived a nightmare. I'm just really hopeful for a second chance."
Rice knows the public scrutiny of him will be difficult to overcome.
"We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and I totally respect that," Rice said. "Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak. ... I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video -- that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I've ever made in my life. ...
"To the survivors of domestic violence, I understand how real it is, and I don't want to ever take that for granted because this is a real issue in our society. My video put the light out there -- if you have never seen what domestic violence looks like and you look at my video, I could understand why some people would never forgive me."