OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The NFL on Tuesday suspended Jimmy Smith 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 petition filed by the mother of his first child that accused him of domestic violence. The NFL found evidence of "threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors" by Smith toward his former girlfriend, according to a statement released by the team.
"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.
"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."Ravens statement on Jimmy Smith
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, which means that Baltimore's remaining secondary will have to match up against the likes of A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown.
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 tendon.