Before I start, I don’t want anyone to take this title out of context. The Baltimore Ravens did not by any means have an unproductive offseason. In fact, they accomplished all that was put out for them coming into the offseason, re-signing all their key players.
However, they might have wanted it to go a little differently. After Jimmy Smith was arrested Saturday night for disorderly conduct, the Ravens have now had five players arrested this offseason.
I’m not a guy that is going to put to much into what players do off the field, in fact I find it close to irrelevant. However, the events that have been occurring this offseason are hard to ignore, and here’s why:
For a number of years, the Baltimore Ravens have been known as a well-disciplined team. Behind the leadership of middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who is considered to be one of the best leaders of all-time, the Ravens didn’t find themselves in many uncomfortable situations throughout the course of an offseason. Perhaps this was due to Lewis’ own mistakes.
As everyone very well knows, Ray Lewis was charged for criminal justice in 1999 but did not miss any playing time. This impacted his career and all the players around him. From there on out, the Ravens had a new motto, and it was one that kept the players out of trouble. Ray Lewis departed from the team following the 2012 season and it didn’t take long to feel the impact that he not only had on the field, but off the field as well.
Only about a month after the 2013 season concluded, fourth-year offensive lineman Jah Reid was charged with misdemeanor battery in Key West. Reid, 25, was the third player on the Ravens roster to get arrested in only 22 days. Just 18 days prior to Reid’s arrest, wide receiver/ return man Deonte Thompson was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
As I mentioned before, there were three arrests in 22 days for the Ravens and the third one undoubtedly had the largest impact. On February 15, star running back Ray Rice was arrested after an incident involving him occurred in Atlantic City. Rice was charged with simple assault-domestic violence and was released on a summons to appear in court. After a series of altercations, Rice was indicted on an aggravated assault charge in New Jersey and the case came to an abrupt end.
Even after those three arrests, the Ravens did not learn their lessons. In fact, Rice wasn’t even the last running back on the team to get arrested this offseason. On May 27, Ravens rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro was arrested in Virginia on misdemeanor charges. These arrests were topped off just yesterday when starting corner back Jimmy Smith was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Five arrests in one offseason is no joke. To put into prospective how bad that number is: Only three other teams (San Fransisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, and Chicago Bears) have had two and none have had more than that. The Cincinnati Bengals, who have been known for making headlines for arrests in the past, have had only one off-field incident. Although most of these legal issues have been resolved, they are problems that the Ravens shouldn’t be getting into in the first place.
So who is it going to be? I have heard that Daryl Smith, a 32-year-old veteran, was supposed to take over the reigns of Ray Lewis and carry the team on his shoulders. How has that worked out? So I will ask one more time, who is it going to be? Joe Flacco? Steve Smith? Terrell Suggs? I don’t know and quite frankly, I really don’t care, but it has to be someone.
They have a talented team that is more than capable of making a playoff run in 2014. It’s a deep, youthful, and talented roster so there is no reason why it should all be wasted due to some locker room issues.
The good news for the Ravens is that the offseason is almost over. There are only ten days until the team as a whole reports to training camp. The Ravens can only hope they don’t add more to this troublesome offseason before then.