Ravens' assistant cleared of charges

OWINGS MILLS - Charges of violating the terms of a protective order and telephone harassment filed against Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Bennie Thompson earlier this summer were dismissed Tuesday due to a lack of evidence, according to court records and Thompson's lawyer. "After a thorough evaluation and discussions with the state attorney's office, they chose to do the right and honest thing and dismiss all charges against Bennie," attorney Terry S. Lavenstein said. "Justice was served."

Thompson, 40, was arrested in May at his Pikesville home after Nikki Walden, a friend of Thompson's former girlfriend, Nancy Lee, alleged that the Ravens' assistant special teams coach threatened to kill her and repeatedly called her. Lavenstein said he and Thompson are still contemplating whether to pursue legal action.

The temporary restraining order was granted to Lee, not Walden by a Howard County district judge.

In a May interview at the Ravens' training complex, Thompson emphatically denied the charges and said he was shocked that he was arrested. He acknowledged speaking to Walden, but denied several times threatening her in any way.

"That is absolutely not true," Thompson said. "I'm here trying to defend myself to the type of person that I am. Everybody loves me and I get along with everybody. "I don't want this thing to come out to make it look like I'm a bad guy who called and threatened people."

Thompson is a former Ravens defensive back and special teams ace who appeared in two Pro Bowls and played 11 years in the NFL. The former Grambling standout played for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Ravens along with a stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League.

"My kids look up to me," said Thompson, who suggested that the charges may have been financially-motivated. "I have an image to uphold. I'm not that type of guy. I'm a good person. I don't call and threaten people."

NOTE: The Ravens will conduct their annual "Fan/Photo Day" at M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The practice includes a scrimmage, is free and open to the general public and marks the first time the team has played on the new artificial turf surface, which is currently under installation.

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