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Thompson suspension implies multiples violations of substance-abuse policy


With the Ravens needing safeties for the 2013 season, one of the safeties they drafted in 2012 won’t be available for the first 25 percent of the coming campaign.

As Mike Wilkening pointed out on Monday, Christian Thompson has been suspended four games for violation of the substance-abuse policy.

Unlike the policy regarding steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, which imposes a four-game suspension after only one violation, a suspension under the substance-abuse policy happens only after the player has violated the policy several times. (It also typically comes after the player has been fined four game checks, which means Thompson likely was stripped of 25 percent of his rookie pay.)

This means that Thompson, during only one season in the NFL, has continued to fail to comply with the NFL’s standards. And it doesn’t bode well for his future in football.

The development raises questions about whether the Ravens should have sensed a problem before investing a fourth-round pick in Thompson. But the team said last year that there were no red flags despite a transfer from Auburn to South Carolina State.

Though the specific substance Thompson abused hasn’t been identified, the most common culprit in this context is marijuana. And if Thompson has been suspended for marijuana use, it means that he has consistently been unable to choose football over marijuana.

If he fails that test one more time in the coming months, he’ll likely face a one-year suspension. And that could end his NFL career, not long after it began.