The Baltimore Ravens will be without their top cornerback for the first quarter of the season.
Jimmy Smith was suspended the first four games of the regular season without pay for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, a league spokesman announced Tuesday.
The Ravens released a statement in support of the league's decision:
"The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player's behavior was inappropriate and wrong.
"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 released a statement through the Ravens and expressed remorse for his actions:
"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."
Smith's suspension takes effect on Sept. 1, and he is eligible to return to the active roster on Oct. 1, the day after the Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith is allowed to participate in preseason practices and games before serving the four-game suspension.
Smith was eyeing a comeback season after tearing his Achilles tendon last December. With Brandon Carr holding down one corner, the Ravens' options to replace Smith includes Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young, Maurice Canady and rookie Anthony Averett, among others.
Smith enters his eight professional season, and he joined the Ravens as a first-round pick (27th overall) out of Colorado.