It’s time to say goodbye and thank you to Torrey Smith.
Not because of who he is on the field, but because of who he is off it.
Thanks to Torrey for setting personal career highs in TDs with 11 this year, nearly double Steve Smith Sr.’s six who finished second. Thanks for the circus one-handed catches, particularly the one against the Chargers this season. Wow!
Yes, the “soft” label has been floated, but there were moments of greatness.
Torrey Smith invited us into his life. Few players have shared wedding photos, baby pictures and joys of his life the way he has. He shared his grief upon losing his brother Tevin. Two touchdowns scored against the Patriots the same night he drove back to Baltimore from Virginia, hours after learning of Tevin’s accident, moved Ravens Nation in a way that transcends sports.
It’s not just a Ravens thing. It’s a family thing with Torrey.
This year’s Ravens’ nominee for man of the year for his community involvement doesn’t take into consideration the number of times he poses for fan pictures, crashes fan weddings or takes fans out to play football. It only considers charitable work, but there’s so much more to Torrey Smith.
I have heard the phrase “Always a Raven” applied to a couple of different former players, sometimes by John Harbaugh. Torrey Smith bleeds purple and black. He always will. Regardless of what team colors he puts on next season, I’ll be looking for his stats at the end of the game, watching for pics of his son TJ’s growth and videos posted on his wife Chanel’s Instagram.
The business side of the NFL can be brutal.
Some in Ravens Nation still lament the loss of Anquan Boldin. Jarret Johnson was a staple in our defensive system. It doesn’t matter if you’ve earned the salary – go get the paycheck.
NFL careers are far too short. Players shouldn’t be expected to give a hometown discount or show loyalty to a second family when their priority should be, and frequently is, feeding their first family and providing their offspring and themselves with financial security.
The Ravens won’t pay Torrey number one money with Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken coming along nicely. Michael Campanaro showed great promise in his rookie year. The coaching staff is high on Jeremy Butler coming off IR in 2015. With veteran leadership provided by Steve Smith Sr. and Jacoby Jones, the wide receiver corps seems well stocked even without using a pick on a relatively robust draft class.
The Ravens have far more pressing needs than Torrey Smith, particularly given their limited cap space.
Torrey has done many things well on the field in his six years in Baltimore. There have been mind-boggling catches. This year there were the aforementioned 11 touchdowns. He led the league in pass interference yardage – something that won’t show up in his stats. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you move the chains as long as they are moved.
In an attempt to find a scapegoat for the divisional round loss to the Patriots, Torrey has taken some flak for not fighting harder to break up the interception.
2014 has been a mixed reviews kind of season.
Torrey has done far more off the field. He’s created the Torrey Smith Foundation, which has the goal of helping 35,000 children “up and down the beltway.” He works with Baltimore Animal Care and Rescue. He suffered horrible grief and incredible joy and shared so much of that with us like family would.
Some team will pay Torrey number one wide receiver money. He should take it. He deserves it, not only for what he brings to a team, but what he brings to a community.
Home isn’t always a zip code.
Baltimore is the Smiths’ home.
Thank you Torrey, Chanel and TJ.
Good luck in your new environment.
Home will be here when you get back.