OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Jimmy Smith has missed chunks of games in the past due to injuries and suspension.
This time, in an emotional media session, the Baltimore Ravens' top cornerback acknowledged the month away was unlike his previous absences.
"This one was a little bit different in the sense that I’m a lot older now," Smith said Thursday in his first comments since returning from a four-game suspension. "You get time to kind of recalibrate personally, and, I guess, everything. You think about life. This time it gave me an opportunity to really sit down and just get that love back, get my body back, get my mind and my personal life in order."
In late August, Smith was suspended for the first quarter of the 2018 regular season after the NFL discovered "evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors" by Smith toward a former girlfriend who is the mother of his first child, according to the Ravens. There was "a pattern of improper conduct," the team said in its statement at the time.
On Thursday, Smith said he legally couldn't talk about the cause of his suspension.
During his time away from the Ravens' facility, Smith had an engagement party and learned he is having a second child with his fiancee. He got connected to a body coach in Dallas.
"I actually got with my own -- I’m not going to say ‘Alex Guerrero’ -- but something like that," Smith said, referring to Tom Brady's personal trainer. "Not him, not him. Not that I have any problem with him -- I don’t know anything about him -- but what I’m saying is that I went and tried to further my body and take a new approach to my health holistically -- got a new nutrition guy and strength."
Smith received a countdown to his return through texts from safety Eric Weddle. At one point, Weddle told Smith that it was down to 48 hours. Smith responded: "It's actually 34 hours and 30 minutes."
"Amazing. Simply amazing," Smith said. "I miss being around the guys, talking being around football. It's my life."
Smith has dealt with several off-the-field issues. Over the past four years, Smith was charged with failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer (a misdemeanor charge was later dropped), suspended four games by the NFL for violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs (which he attributed to taking the wrong preworkout supplement) and disciplined again by the league for this latest incident.
Teammates said Smith's smile and energy has been evident in the team facility since his return on Monday morning.
"I think he knows where he's at in his career, and the history of what has happened over here in the last six to 10 years with certain incidents, and it could have easily been the other way," Weddle said, referring to the Ray Rice incident in 2013. "I think he's come back with a different appreciation."
This could be Smith's final season in Baltimore. A 2011 first-round pick by Baltimore, Smith has been sidelined for one-quarter of the regular-season games in his NFL career (a total of 30 games missed) because of injuries and suspension.
The Ravens can create $9.5 million in cap space by cutting Smith at the end of the season.
“I’m just focused on the Browns. I can’t control the contract stuff," Smith said about the Ravens' next opponent. "There are all kinds of things thrown around. My focus is the Browns and getting back and trying to help the team out as much as I can."