Within an hour of the news breaking that Anquan Boldin had been traded to the San Francisco 49ers, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was at a “Purple” carpet event celebrating the release of the NFL Films DVD from the Ravens championship season, which ended with a Super Bowl XLVII victory last month.
The event was loud and as Smith met with the media, he was asked about losing his teammate. For Smith, Boldin was more than just a teammate and complementary player on the field, he was like an older brother to the young Ravens receiver.
“I’m here to celebrate the Super Bowl victory,” Smith first said to the media. “Obviously, it’s a tough one. I think I’m going to avoid this one at this time.”
Fans packed the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric for the Ravens DVD premiere. Despite only standing a few feet from Smith, the crowd was so loud, the media could barely hear his responses. Even though Smith didn’t want to talk about the trade of his teammate, he eventually opened up because no media members heard his initial response.
Smith was “definitely shocked” as he first heard the news less than an hour before. He said that Boldin was a “great guy and a great leader,” even though he understands that this is what comes on the business side of the NFL.
“That’s the tough part about this game,” he said. “No team is ever the same [after winning the Super Bowl] – players, coaches, everyone. It’s tough, especially when you’re close to people and you develop relationships.”
Players who fill the Ravens locker room often praise it for the uniqueness of the bonds created in there compared to other locker rooms they’ve been a part of in college or the NFL. Losing a player like Boldin in essence is like seeing a family member being taken away, and is one of the only negative impacts of such a tight-knit group of players.
“It’s going to be hard,” Smith said. “The biggest thing is it’s not so much about football, you lose a mentor and someone like a brother who would do anything for you. It’s tough.”
With Boldin gone, Smith is the Ravens’ clear-cut primary receiver. Heading into the third season of his original four-year deal, a stellar 2013 campaign for Smith could have the Ravens offering him a new contract before his current deal expires. However, Smith doesn’t get caught up in the numbers, with or without Boldin.
“Obviously it’s going to be a little more responsibility, but I had that last year and the year before that,” he said. “My role is to go play ball, it doesn’t matter what number they say or whatever. I go out there to play, and if the ball comes my way, I’m supposed to catch it. It doesn’t really change anything.”
Smith will lose a mentor but if he becomes the new favorite target of Flacco, it can only benefit him on the field. He’ll become even more interested in the business side of football as he considers a new contract with a breakout season as the Ravens top receiver.