(Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to multiple reports, in a move that is generating debate over how the NFL assigns punishment.

The announcement is expected to come later today from the NFL, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The punishment for violating the personal conduct policy stems from an offseason incident in which he allegedly struck his wife, who was then his fiancee, in an Atlantic City casino. Rice’s attorney called the altercation involving Janay Palmer at Revel Casino “a very minor physical altercation,” but a TMZ video showed him dragging Palmer, who appears to be unconscious, out of an elevator and dropping her onto the ground. According to a police statement, the couple“struck each other with their hands.” In May, Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program to avoid trial on aggravated assault charges and he met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in June.

The suspension is likely to be the first of a number being handed down by the NFL in connection with offseason incidents and will sideline Rice for games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. During that time, Bernard Pierce, a backup who is recovering from shoulder surgery, is expected to be the top choice to start.

The term of the suspension is controversial, given that drug suspensions are often for four games and that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not been disciplined for his arrest.