Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith is back this week, but he said he’s regained something more important than his football career.
After serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy for an incident involving a former girlfriend, Smith said he used the time off to refocus himself, and get his life back on track. He’s missed time from football before (such as a torn Achilles), but said this one was different.
“You guys all know I’ve done this different ways, obviously, but it’s extremely hard,” Smith said, via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. “This one was a little bit different in the sense that I’m a lot older now.
“You get time to kind of recalibrate personally and, I guess, everything. You think about life. But this time, it gave me an opportunity to really sit down and just get that love back, get my body back, get my mind, my personal life, in order.”
The suspension stems from a previous relationship, in which the NFL found evidence of “threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors” by Smith toward a former girlfriend. Smith didn’t say much about the cause of the suspension, citing legal reasons. But he said during his time away, he got engaged and discovered he was going to be a father again.
The Ravens organization and his teammates have supported him, with the team saying in their statement in August they “believe [Smith] is taking the proper steps to improve and that he can change.”
“Obviously, us as players, we know Jimmy and know what he went through and know what it means to him,” safety Eric Weddle said. “As you get older, you appreciate certain things, little things, right? It’s the relationships, it’s your teammates, it’s the team that backed you. I think he’s come with a different appreciation to what this game has brought to him.”
From a football standpoint, Smith’s return adds another top cover player to a defense that was already playing well, which they have described as a “good problem” to have.