Surely, Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't think the Ray Rice situation would eventually go away because of the indefinite suspension. Rice is fighting back, and his efforts might put him back in uniform by 2015.
Rice and his lawyers are expected to fight the NFL on the grounds that it can't punish him twice for the same offense (in other words, you can't give him a suspension for the same thing you gave him a two-week suspension for). Even the NFLPA is predicted to step in for the same reason. The NFL is expected to argue that Rice lied about the nature of the incident, but his team's counter will probably be that the league should've, at the very least, had proper evidence about what was going on in that elevator.
So Goodell's headache continues and the question of the severity of Rice's punishment is still prominent. But let's put all that aside for a second and realize we're talking about football here. Rice will be 28 if he did come back next year. The running back position is notorious for its short lifespan, and Rice has already slowed down with his weak 660-yard 2013 season. You can argue Rice's NFL career is effectively dead regardless of what happens.