Asked how he would spend the Ravens’ first four regular-season games, Jimmy Smith offered a simple alternative to playing.
“Training,” he said Saturday night. “Every day.”
The Ravens’ solution to replacing their top cornerback, suspended for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, will be far from straightforward. The defense has by now gotten used to playing without Smith for stretches, but it was appreciably worse against the pass last season when he went out with a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.
In his first comments since the NFL announced Tuesday that it had found evidence of Smith’s “pattern of improper conduct” toward a former girlfriend, he declined to comment further on what the league called “threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors.”
But he did not hesitate to voice his belief in the players who must now perform in his absence.
“I have the ultimate confidence in the defense,” he said after the Ravens’ 27-10 win over the Miami Dolphins. “They did well. They always do well, I feel like. … We’ll be fine.”
Smith called the suspension “difficult,” but said the support of his Ravens “family” has made it easier to bear. He said he knows what he needs to do to be ready for Week 5. The trouble is in how the Ravens will handle the four weeks before that.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m definitely preparing for it,” he said of his eventual return. “I’m a vet, so I know what I need to do to get ready, especially coming back against the [Cleveland] Browns with a loaded wide receiver group. I know what’s expected, I know what I have to do.”