OWINGS MILLS, MD — For the second time in a calendar year, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith is facing a four-game suspension.
The NFL announced on Tuesday evening that the 30-year-old Baltimore cornerback will miss the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. This comes after Smith was suspended for the final four games of the 2017 season due to a violation for taking performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). Smith didn’t actually miss any playing time though, because he tore his Achilles tendon in a 44-20 win over the Detroit Lions on December 3 and served that suspension over the final four games of the season.
After Smith’s suspension became official, the Ravens released a team statement regarding their starting cornerback.
“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.
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 also released a statement apologizing for his involvement in this incident.
“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.
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.”
The Ravens will miss Smith for their games against Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, and Pittsburgh. Receivers like A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown are always players to game plan for and the Ravens will now be tasked with prepping for them without their number one corner.
Just how valuable is Smith to the Ravens defense? The numbers don’t lie. Opposing quarterbacks passer ratings increase from 76.1 to 91.5 when Smith is out. Prior to his injury last year, Smith was on his way to a career season by allowing just 12 receptions, 100 yards and no touchdowns in the first eight weeks. In premier matchups against AFC north receivers like Green and Brown, Smith allowed just two receptions for 27 yards.
After losing Smith to the Achilles injury in week 13 the Ravens defense struggled to stop both the Steelers and Bengals offenses in the final stretch of the season. Both of these loses ultimately led to Baltimore missing out on the playoffs for the third straight year.
Additional contributions made by Nolan McGraw
Image Credit: Sporting News