BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens will be without their top cornerback to start the regular season.
The organization said Tuesday in a statement that Jimmy Smith has been suspended four games without pay for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally behaviors by Jimmy [Smith] toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct,” a portion of Baltimore’s statement read.
Smith, 30, will be eligible to return on October 7 against the Cleveland Browns. He will miss games against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“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,” Smith said in a statement issued through the team. “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.”
Baltimore said that the organization consulted with relationship and domestic violence experts, convened a group of Ravens women and men executives — not directly involved with football operations — and spoke with Smith about his past behavior for their perspectives.
“As a result of this entire process, we will allow Jimmy to return to our team after his suspension,” the team’s statement added. “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.”
Last year, Smith was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. He served the suspension while he was out with an Achilles’ injury.