As reported last night, the NFL was preparing to hand down a suspension to Ravens cornerback, Jimmy Smith. The only information available at the time was that Smith violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and was facing a multi-game suspension. Today, the NFL announced that the league decided to suspend Smith for the first four games of the 2018 season. The NFL found “evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct.” Smith, a 2011 first round pick, has frequently found himself on the sidelines as he has consistently suffered injuries. This is not Smith’s first suspension either, as he was suspended last year after he was found to have violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
This suspension stems from court documents and testimony originating as part of a custody battle between Smith and his former girlfriend over their child. Smith, as the claims surfaced, maintained that none were based in reality. Now that the NFL has found him culpable, he takes full responsibility for his actions. His full statement is as follows:
“I would like to sincerely apologize to my former girlfriend, the NFL, the Ravens organization, my coaches, my teammates, my fiancée 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.”
The Ravens will not cut Smith immediately, but the suspension does put his spot on the roster in the future, in jeopardy. The Ravens dealt with a similar situation with Ray Rice in 2014, where the team allowed him to stay on at first, but public backlash forced the organization’s hand. This situation will likely not reach that point, but Smith’s future in Baltimore is up in the air, as he remains unreliable for the Ravens.
The Ravens will face the Bills, Bengals, Broncos, and Steelers to start the season in the four-game stretch that Smith will be absent. The Ravens likely knew that a suspension was looming for Smith, as the team worked out free agent cornerback Brashaud Breeland, but the two parties never reached an agreement. The Ravens could try to bring Breeland back into the mix, but the Ravens like the options on the team already. The depth at cornerback should be enough for Baltimore to hold the fort, but the loss of Smith is a major one for the secondary.