One-game ban likely for Rolle from NFL

Ravens' new cornerback faces suspension as result of domestic violence case

July 30, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Samari Rolle is expected to receive a one-game suspension from the NFL under its personal conduct policy, a league source said yesterday.

The Ravens cornerback agreed to probation and anger management counseling nearly four months ago to settle charges in his domestic violence case, which makes him subject to disciplinary action by the league.

Rolle, the team's top free-agent signing on defense this offseason, has been contacted by NFL officials about a possible punishment.

"We will wait for the league to address it," coach Brian Billick said. "We've been prepared for the possibility that it could be a suspension. But we have been given no indication what it might be or when they will address it."

Rolle was arrested and charged with assault after an altercation with his wife at the couple's home in Brentwood, Tenn., on Feb. 15. Danisha Rolle was treated and released from a local hospital that night for a cut over her left eye that required three stitches.

According to police, Rolle struck his wife during an argument. But Danisha Rolle never pressed charges against her husband.

If he satisfies the terms under a pretrial diversion agreement, the charge will be expunged from his record following a period of 11 months and 29 days. He's undergoing counseling with his wife.

Penalties in similar cases have usually resulted in either one- or two-game suspensions from the NFL.

"I have not heard about [any suspension] yet," Rolle said yesterday.

The Ravens knew there could be possible league action when they signed Rolle to a six-year, $30.5 million contract in March. Rolle, 28, is expected to team with Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister and safety Ed Reed to form one of the top secondaries in the league.

"We realize it could be a variety of things that could be brought down," Billick said. "Samari also has the appeal process to go through."

If Rolle is suspended, an appeal might allow him to play in the season opener against Peyton Manning and the high-powered Indianapolis Colts offense. Last year, Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith delayed his suspension for almost two months with an appeal.

The Ravens would replace Rolle in the starting lineup with one of their veteran cornerbacks, either Dale Carter or Deion Sanders.

"The fact that the plea was bargained at a point where he was not convicted of anything and his wife has been so strongly in support of him, we're hopeful that the league will take all of that into consideration," Billick said.

NOTES: With players reporting to training camp tomorrow, the Ravens still have four unsigned draft picks (receiver Mark Clayton, linebacker Dan Cody, offensive tackle Adam Terry and center Jason Brown). Clayton is one of 22 first-round selections who have yet to reach deals. ... All of the Ravens' single-game tickets for the regular season sold out in 10 minutes yesterday. Approximately 300 tickets remain for each of their two preseason games. For information, call 410-261-7283. ... The team signed undrafted rookie running back Alex Haynes and Canadian Football League cornerback Mark Estelle.

Sun staff writer Brent Jones contributed to this article.

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