The NFL upheld Ravens receiver Javin Hunter's four-game suspension yesterday for violating the league's policy on banned substances.
Hunter, who started in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, will miss the remainder of the regular season, is banned from the training facility and can't attend team functions. The Ravens signed cornerback Tom Knight, a first-round pick in 1997 who started eight games for the Arizona Cardinals last season, to a two-year contract to fill Hunter's spot.
Ron Johnson will start in place of Hunter.
Hunter tested positive for ephedrine, a drug found in dietary supplements, at the beginning of training camp, but he appealed the decision. He was allowed to play during the appeal, but the positive test was reported Sunday by CBS.
Once Hunter's situation became public, Ravens coach Brian Billick pleaded with the league to make a decision rather than have the matter linger for the remainder of the year. Hunter had five catches for 35 yards this season.
"I truly believe that Javin doesn't know what it is he took," Billick said. "That is the part the players have to be more cognizant of.
"There is a price to be paid, and unfortunately, this young man is going to have to pay a big price. What he is going to lose given this last month of what we are going to go through, that's truly unfortunate. That's a lot for him to overcome as we go forward the next year and after. Like everything, I hope the rest of the team can learn."
It is the second straight week the Ravens are losing a starting receiver. Brandon Stokley was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury 10 days ago.
Now, the Ravens will use undrafted rookie Randy Hymes and Jeff Ogden as the third and fourth receivers, while working in newly signed receiver Milton Wynn.
Hunter can return to the team Dec. 30 and would be eligible if the Ravens make the playoffs.
"Maybe this will give Jeff a chance to get on the field," Billick said. "One man's loss is another man's opportunity. We've tried to get Randy more and more involved each week."
Meanwhile, in Knight, the Ravens have a player they will look to develop for next season. Knight suffered a hamstring injury last year in Arizona and was placed on injured reserve, then spent training camp with the New England Patriots but was cut after the first game.