Jimmy Smith suspended 4 games; Ravens will allow him to return

OWINGS MILLS, Md. --  Jimmy Smith was suspended Tuesday by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, sidelining the Baltimore Ravens' top cornerback for the first quarter of the 2018 season.

Smith's discipline stems from a domestic violence incident last November involving the mother of his first child.

In a statement, the Ravens acknowledged the NFL had found evidence "of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors" by Smith toward his former girlfriend.

"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," Smith said in a statement. "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 indicated Smith would be welcomed back after his suspension ends. He can return to the team on Oct. 1.

Following the Ray Rice scandal five years ago, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said the team wouldn't draft any players with a history of domestic violence.

"As a result of this entire process, we will allow Jimmy to return to our team after his suspension," the Ravens said in a statement. "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 appealed the original six-game suspension, which was reduced by two games.

The Ravens will be without Smith for their games against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers. That means Baltimore will have to match up against the likes of A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown.

Baltimore will be in a better position to handle the loss of Smith. The Ravens will start 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey alongside 10-year starter Brandon Carr.

This is the second suspension for Smith. He was suspended for the final four games last season for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy. He served that suspension after suffering a torn Achilles.