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Ravens' Washington Suspended for Season Opener

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Associated Press
Saturday, August 2, 2008

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington was suspended one game without pay yesterday for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, a punishment stemming from a domestic violence arrest in February involving his girlfriend.

Washington is allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games until his suspension begins Aug. 30. It will end after the Ravens' Sept. 7 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I put myself in a bad situation, and I did not handle it the right way," Washington said. "I was wrong and made a mistake. My girlfriend, my attorney and I wanted a quick resolution and knew that a suspension could happen."

Acquired in a trade from the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round draft pick during the NFL draft, Washington was arrested at his home in East Manatee County, Fla., following an altercation with his 21-year-old girlfriend.

Washington, 24, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was told by a judge he would be allowed to avoid prosecution if he completed a 26-week intervention program for first-time offenders and stayed out of trouble.

"We had knowledge of Fabian's situation prior to the trade we made for him," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Based on the NFL's personal conduct policy, and Fabian's agreement with the authorities, we knew that a suspension was a possibility. Fabian knows his actions were a mistake and has taken appropriate actions since then."

· PANTHERS: Wide receiver Steve Smith was sent home from training camp after he punched teammate Ken Lucas during practice, causing the starting cornerback to be carted off the field holding an ice pack to his left eye.

Panthers Coach John Fox said Smith and Lucas went back to Charlotte after the fight. The team didn't provide an update on the extent of Lucas's injuries, and club officials declined to say if the volatile Smith, the team's top wide receiver, would be suspended.

The melee came after both players had taken off their helmets in a break for starters during a special teams drill. It was unclear what provoked the fight. Although the two have routinely jawed at each other in practice since Lucas signed with Carolina in 2005, they have never come to blows in view of reporters.

"When that happens on the field, usually guys have helmets on," quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "But this happened on the sidelines, so it probably wasn't a good idea."

When attention turned from the field to the fight, several players and Fox rushed to the scene. Fox tried to separate the two, but it took linebacker Jon Beason to pull Smith off Lucas.

Lucas walked to a tent, holding his head while accompanied by a trainer. Smith was then escorted there by wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad to talk to Lucas.

"Steve was probably a little remorseful for what happened," Muhammad said. "He was trying to apologize, so I was walking with him just to be there."

After being treated for several minutes, Lucas walked to a nearby cart and was taken to the locker room.

Smith spent several minutes talking to kicker John Kasay on an adjacent field before he was escorted to the locker room by General Manager Marty Hurney as practice continued.

· BILLS: Rookie Alvin Bowen suffered a severe right knee injury in practice and Coach Dick Jauron expressed fear that the linebacker could miss the entire season.

Selected 147th overall, Bowen was an all-Big 12 Conference first-team selection in his junior and senior seasons at Iowa State.

· COLTS: Wide receiver Marvin Harrison, recovering from surgery to both knees, likely won't play in tomorrow's Hall of Fame preseason game against the Redskins.

The 13-year NFL veteran will make the trip to Canton, Ohio, but is expected to watch from the sideline, Colts Coach Tony Dungy said.


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