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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Having already served a four-game suspension at the end of last season, Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2013 season, the NFL announced Friday.
Jackson was suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs just as he was late last season when he was forced to sit out the final month of the regular season. Reports indicated the Cal Poly product was suspended each time for testing positive for Adderall, a prescription drug typically used to treat ADHD.
“You’ve got to follow the rules,” coach John Harbaugh said. “You don’t follow the rules, you get suspended. That’s a fair rule. There’s really no place for that, and he’s getting what he deserves. We’ll be missing Asa for the first eight weeks. Whether he’ll be back after that, time will tell.”
Far from a sure thing to make the 53-man roster this year after being selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, Jackson played in three games last year while serving in a special-teams capacity. Jackson will not count against the 53-man roster during his suspension, meaning the Ravens will have no logistical reasons keeping him around during the suspension if they elect to do so.
Jackson is competing with veteran cornerback Chris Johnson as well as rookies Marc Anthony and Moe Lee for what you’d expect to be one or two roster spots behind Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, and Chykie Brown, who are all considered locks for the 53-man squad.
The young defensive back attempted to explain himself via social media Friday evening.
“I know the #ravennation is real disappointed in me right now, but it isn’t what you think,” Jackson wrote on his official Twitter account. “I was prescribed medicine for my ADD, but our team dr [sic] quit and never turned in my paperwork. Although I am responsible for what is in my body, this is just a bad situation that wasnt [sic] really my fault. But I do take responsibility for it, and will face the consequences. Love y’all always and I look forward to ballin [sic] this preseason and when I get back week 9. Stay up.”
In addition to playing corner, Jackson has return skills and special-team abilities as a 5-foot-10, 182-pound speedster.
What does this suspension mean for his future in Baltimore with his second suspension in less than a year?
“It just means he’s out of the picture,” Harbaugh said. “What he needs to do is have a big camp and make us want him back after eight weeks and try to be in position to help us during the second half of the season. That will be a big challenge for him, but we’ve talked about it quite a bit and he’s up for the challenge.”
The 23-year-old cornerback is the second player from last year’s roster to be suspended for the start of the 2013 season as second-year safety Christian Thompson was suspended for four games earlier in the offseason for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Status quo attendance report
Friday’s practice looked much like the previous two days in terms of attendance and participation with only rookie cornerback Marc Anthony returning to action after sitting out Thursday’s session.
Right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), offensive linemen Ramon Harewood (knee) and Ryan Jensen (foot), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) did not participate on Friday.
The Ravens’ official Twitter account reported that safety James Ihedigbo appeared to be in pain at the end of Friday’s practice, but it wasn’t serious, according to Harbaugh.
“Anything you saw as far as injury, there was nothing serious,” Harbaugh said. “Everything was minor, so we are in good shape.”
Annapolis, here we come
For the second straight summer, the Ravens will conduct a training camp practice at the Naval Academy in Annapolis at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The session is free and open to the public as the Ravens hold the first of three public practices in an effort to continue to reach fans following the discontinuation of open training camps in Westminster.
“It will be exciting. I think our guys are really looking forward to it,” Harbaugh said. “I’m expecting a full stadium down there in Annapolis. The Naval Academy has just been tremendous hosts. We love going down there.”
Players will receive the day off on Saturday.