Ex-Ravens RB Jamal Lewis says arrest due to misunderstanding, not child neglect

Jamal Lewis' booking photo from the Clayton County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office
Jamal Lewis' booking photo from the Clayton County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office (Clayton County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office photo)

Former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, who is due to be inducted in the team's Ring of Honor late next month, was arrested and charged with child abandonment Tuesday night.

Lewis, 32, was booked in the Clayton County (Ga.) jail just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, and released shortly after midnight Wednesday, according to the report.

Lewis, who retired in 2009 after playing nine seasons in the NFL, including six in Baltimore, has had no contact with his son for more than a year, according to court documents.

Lewis denied the charges in a statement sent to reporters Thursday.

"My arrest on Wednesday evening was the result of a misunderstanding rather than the result of me being an unfit father. I am a responsible parent and have always provided for my children. That fact cannot be disputed. I have made mistakes in my life, but failing to care for my children is not one of them. I'm confident this matter will be resolved as the legal process plays out, and I will continue to work toward an arrangement within the court system that will allow me to effectively co-parent my son."

Lewis is scheduled to be in Baltimore Friday to sign autographs at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

"As of right now, what we know is that he has been released and he we have not heard anything from him," event organizer Ray Schulte said Thursday morning. "If he is going to cancel, he has not done so yet."

The arrest comes about five months after Lewis filed for bankruptcy in Georgia in April, and listed $14.5 million in assets and $10.6 million in debts. Lewis is also among the former NFL players who sued the NFL in December, alleging that concussions have affected their post-football lives.

The Ravens' first-round pick in 2000, Lewis holds the franchise record with 7,801 rushing yards, including a single-season team record of 2,066 yards in 2003 when he was named the Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

He finished his career with three seasons with the Cleveland Browns before retiring at the age of 30. The Ravens were set to make him the latest induction into the Ring of Honor at halftime of their Sept. 27 game against Cleveland.

The team had not publicly made the announcement, but Lewis adorned the tickets for that game, and he talked about the honor in an interview with The Sun last month.

"When I first came out of college, Art Modell and Steve Bisciotti gave me the chance to go out there and prove my ability," he said. "Everybody else pretty much had questions, you know. But I fell into a good family, we went on a Super Bowl run that year and won. It was a very memorable part of my career. And I love the time that I had in Baltimore. Art Modell and Steve Bisciotti were great owners and great role models."

While Lewis had great success on the field, Tuesday's arrest is not his first brush with the law. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to the charge of using a cell phone to facilitate a cocaine transaction. He received a four-month jail sentence.

Lewis is scheduled to sign autographs at 2:15 p.m. on Friday at the 33rd Annual National Sports Collectors Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center. As of Wednesday night, it was not known if he will still make that appearance.


Baltimore Sun staff writer Chris Korman contributed to this article.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun