The Ravens will be without one of their best players on defense to start the season.
On Tuesday the NFL announced cornerback Jimmy Smith has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
An investigation conducted by the NFL revealed Smith had behaved in a threatening and abusive manner toward his ex-girlfriend.
Smith's suspension is effective September 1, following the finalization of the teams 53-man roster. He will be eligible to return on October 1. Smith will miss games against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens organization released the following statement;
One of our players, Jimmy Smith, has been suspended without pay for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. The Ravens fully support the NFL’s decision.
The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player’s behavior was inappropriate and wrong.
As an organization, we have carefully reviewed the matter to determine the appropriate course of action for our team to take as Jimmy’s employer.
We consulted with relationship and domestic violence experts for their perspectives. We convened a group of Ravens women and men executives, not directly involved with our football operations, to review the matter. We also engaged in conversations with Jimmy about his past behavior and his intention to change.
Additionally, it is our understanding that following a long-running and difficult custody dispute with his former girlfriend and mother of his son, Jimmy has resolved his custody and support issues.
As a result of this entire process, we will allow Jimmy to return to our team after his suspension. Jimmy has acknowledged his behaviors were wrong and accepts full responsibility for them. He has completed a clinical evaluation and has agreed to undertake any follow-up care or treatment that may be recommended. Through our conversations with Jimmy, we believe he is taking the proper steps to improve and that he can change. Jimmy has assured us that he is fully dedicated to making this change. He also understands the consequences if he does not.
Smith left the team over the weekend after a series of joint practices with the Colts in Indianapolis. He did not play in the team's third preseason game.
In response to his suspension, Smith released the following statement;
I would like to sincerely apologize to my former girlfriend, the NFL, the Ravens organization, my coaches, my teammates, my fiancee and all our fans. I'm very disappointed that my past actions have led to this suspension. I promise that I have already learned much and will continue to learn more from this experience. I believe I am, and will continue to try to be, a better person and a better father because of this. I am committed to being the best I can be, both on and off the field.
I take full responsibility for my past conduct. Moving forward, I will work with the NFL and the Ravens to ensure that what happened in the past will never happen again. I will take all necessary steps to be a positive role model for both my sons, for the NFL and for the entire Ravens community.
Smith has spent seven seasons in Baltimore. He missed the final four games of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.