Ravens safety Christian Thompson has been suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced Monday.
The 2012 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina State will be suspended without pay but will remain eligible to participate in organized team activities, training camp, and all preseason games before his suspension goes into effect at the start of the regular season. At that point, Thompson will not be allowed at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills.
“We have been aware of this situation for some time,” general manager Ozzie Newsome told the team’s official website on Monday.
The free-agent addition of veteran safety Michael Huff makes the news of Thompson’s suspension less severe as Huff and veteran James Ihedigbo are projected to start at free safety and strong safety respectively. The Ravens are also expected to take a long look at a deep class of rookie safeties in this month’s draft.
Active for seven games in his rookie season before being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury on Nov. 17, Thompson held a role on special teams in limited duty and did not record a tackle on defense.
With Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard now playing elsewhere and unrestricted free agent Sean Considine considered unlikely to return, Thompson will be in competition with other young safeties Omar Brown, Anthony Levine, and Emanuel Cook for 53-man roster spots this summer.
Thompson is the second member of the Ravens’ 2012 draft class to receive a suspension after fifth-round cornerback Asa Jackson was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy late last season.