Baltimore Ravens

Ravens safety Matt Elam arrested in Miami, facing drug charges

His time with the team likely already over, Ravens safety Matt Elam put an ignominious exclamation point on a tenure that will have him remembered as one of the worst draft picks in franchise history.

Elam was arrested Saturday evening after police say he was speeding recklessly through Miami Beach in a Range Rover with an armed passenger and a Gucci book bag with marijuana, cash and jewelry.


Police searched the car and found on the floor of the driver seat the bag with 126.21 grams of loose marijuana or about 4.4 ounces, also six Oxycodone pills, $947 in cash, a Rolex, and gold-colored chain necklace and bracelet with white stones, officers wrote.

Elam, 25, will officially become an unrestricted free agent on March 9, and he was not expected to return even before this incident. The team declined his fifth-year option last year.


"We are aware of the arrest of Matt Elam," a Ravens spokesperson said Sunday. "Matt is not in our plans for the 2017 Ravens."

He's facing charges of marijuana possession of more than 20 grams, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of a controlled substance. According to prison records, Elam was booked Sunday at 3:45 a.m. at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. The Range Rover was towed away.

He also was charged with reckless driving. His bail amount is $15,500, per the records. As of late Sunday afternoon, Elam was still in jail. His attorney was not listed.

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Before the arrest, Elam was likely looking at having to sign a one-year, "prove it" deal for close to the veteran minimum salary in free agency. Now, his career is in definite jeopardy as he likely faces NFL discipline for a second time.

Elam served a one-game suspension while injured during the 2014 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The Ravens said that Elam self-reported the issue and it stemmed from an incident during his first NFL season.

Now in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, Elam is likely facing a multi-game suspension.

Officers were patrolling Miami Beach about 7:15 p.m. Saturday when they saw Elam speeding in the dark blue Range Rover, swerving in and out of lanes and screeching his tires, police wrote in charging documents. The officers tried to pull him over, they wrote, and Elam continued to speed before stopping after several blocks.

Two passengers, identified by police as Fritz Narcisse, 22, and Abdud Narcisse, 23, were seen extinguishing a marijuana cigarette in the back seat, police wrote. Another passenger, Calvin Stewart, Jr., 28, was ordered out of the front passenger seat and a loaded 9 mm pistol fell from his waistband, police wrote.

"Detectives detected a strong odor of fresh/burning marijuana and a big cloud of smoke emitting from inside the vehicle," Miami Beach police wrote.

A first-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Florida, Elam will go down as arguably general manager Ozzie Newsome's biggest draft miss.

He was selected with the Ravens’ first pick after they won Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 regular season, and he was expected to help make up for the departure of long-time franchise stalwart Ed Reed, who left in free agency.

When they drafted him, team officials touted Elam as "playing like a Raven," an oft-used expression by executives and coaches to describe the attributes the organization looks for in its players.

However, Elam played in just 41 games over parts of four seasons and started only 26 of them, but none since the 2014 campaign. He likely finishes his Ravens' career with 131 tackles, one interception, seven passes defended and a half sack. His struggles contributed to the safety position being a revolving door the past couple of years with the Ravens.


Elam started 15 games in an uneven rookie season, but he lost his starting job the following year due to problems in coverage and in tackling, which was billed as one of his strengths coming out of the draft. Elam’s tackling issues factored prominently in the team’s bitter loss to the New England Patriots in the divisional playoff round after the 2014 regular season.

He missed the entire 2015 season after tearing his biceps in training camp and then he had knee surgery last August, starting the 2016 season on injured reserve. The Ravens ultimately designated him to return and he played in nine games, primarily seeing action on special teams. He saw only 53 defensive snaps as a reserve safety behind veterans Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb.

A native of West Palm Beach, just outside of Miami, Elam had an All-American career at Florida before leaving after his junior year to enter the NFL Draft.

Elam is believed to be the first Raven to get arrested since outside linebacker Terrell Suggs last March was charged with driving on a suspended license and leaving the scene of an incident after he got in a one-car incident. The charges were eventually dismissed.

According to the charging documents related to Elam, there is a pre-file hearing scheduled for March 8 at 4:30 p.m.