A YouWager news source reports that Christian Thompson, a special teams player for the Baltimore Ravens has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 NFL regular wagering season for a violation of the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.

The league announced the suspension today. Thompson will be suspended without pay.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome told YouWager’s source, “We have been aware of this situation for some time.”

Drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Ravens, after a career that included playing for South Carolina State, Thompson was a special teams player in seven of the Ravens’ first eight games of the 2012 NFL football betting season. He was a safety in college. A transfer from Auburn, Thompson made 141 career tackles with three interceptions, one sack, 10 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries. He’s not one of the bigger guys out there, YouWager’s serious football betting fans remind us. Thompson’s size is supposed to translate to speed, some sportsbook bettors speculate. Thompson only clocks in at 6-feet and 211 pounds. As the last line of defense, safeties need to be a sure thing, YouWager’s bettors say. As football has evolved, with passing games, safeties often have to be specialists, at reading plays and covering the receivers.

Perhaps Thompson thought he needed some special help. He has some big shoes to fill. Baltimore no longer has Ed Reed, one of the greatest safeties in the history of the NFL. Reed has the league’s record for the two longest interception returns (106 yards in 2004 and 108 yards in 2008). Reed also holds the all-time record for interception return yards, with 1,506. Considered to one of the greatest free safeties, Reed is called the “Ball Hawk.”

As YouWager’s sharper football bettors know, a free safety may take the time to see how the play goes, and then follow the ball. The free safety is usually assigned to the quarterback, technically, in man coverage, but because the opposing quarterback is typically in the pocket, the free safety is then “free” to cover another player. Against a pass play, a free safety helps the cornerback close the distance to the receiver by the time the ball gets there.
Christian Thompson will be able to report for active duty on the day following Baltimore’s 4th game. Last season, as a rookie, Thompson played in seven games before a knee injury took him out in November. In 2013, he will still be allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games.

Some of YouWager’s dedicated NFL football wagering fans felt that Baltimore was already light in the Safety Department. The Ravens lost Ed Reed to Houston and they recently released Bernard Pollard. The club did sign Michael Huff, a veteran. When the Ravens acquired Thompson in the 2012 NFL Draft, he signed a 4 year contract for $2.352 million. This included a $300,584 signing bonus. It looks like Thompson will need that. According to YouWager’ source, the suspension will cost him $112,941, because he’ll miss 4 game checks for $28,235 from his base salary of $480,000.

No word yet from YouWager’s source on which particular substances were being abused by Thompson. The league’s list of banned substances is long and very specific. It ranges from anabolic agents, hormones, masking agents, stimulants (which includes common over the counter sinus drugs), and covers other doping methods as well.