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The Jimmy Smith Binder

Jimmy Smith
Background Image Courtesy of Nelson Barnes (Jimmy Smith Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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Recently Jimmy Smith made the news on the heels of accolades extended to him by a rival – WR Julian Edelman. Edelman’s story which you can listen to below (69 seconds in duration) sent me on a trip down memory lane and it reminded me that Jimmy has yet to officially announce his retirement. Insiders believe the gift corner is done and plans to move onto the next chapter of his life. During his 11 season career, Smith has earned $58.6M.

The Ravens made Jimmy their No. 1 pick in 2011 NFL Draft. At the time, it was considered to be a risky pick because many so-called experts labeled Smith a problem child. And while Jimmy’s professional career hasn’t always been squeaky clean, he hasn’t exactly been the disruptive force that many draft analysts predicted.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti once shared a story about Smith. He said that the day the Ravens hosted Jimmy and Torrey Smith for their introductory press conference following the 2011 NFL Draft, Steve approached Jimmy following the presser, before he was whisked away to the airport.

Prior to the press conference, Bisciotti asked Kevin Byrne, then Ravens VP of Public Relations, to assemble two separate and distinct binders that represented a collection of cornerbacks who played in the NFL. One binder was a collection of corners who fought through adversity to achieve greatness in the NFL. The other was a collection of supremely talented CB’s who fell short of expectations, in large part due to off-the-field issues.

Bisciotti handed Smith the two binders after the presser and before Jimmy left team headquarters. Steve suggested that Jimmy look through both during his flight home to California and determine which binder he wanted to be in when his career was over.

If asked today which of those binders might now tell the story of Jimmy Smith’s career, most would probably reply, “Neither”. Smith’s NFL achievements never aligned with his massive physical skills. He just couldn’t consistently stay healthy. Out of a possible 177 regular season games during his 11-year career in Baltimore, Jimmy played in 128 (72.3%), started in 90 (50.8%). He landed on injured reserve during 3 of his eleven campaigns.

On the positive side, Smith certainly contributed as his career highlights below suggest. And it’s hard not to think about his contributions in Super Bowl 47 when the 49ers targeted him on three consecutive plays inside the 5-yard line, late in the fourth quarter. Without his efforts, the Ravens may have only 1 Lombardi Trophy to their credit.

Assuming his retirement is imminent, and there’s little reason not to, Jimmy leaves the NFL as a career Raven. He’s earned my respect for the maturation he’s shown as a teammate. And at the end of the day, at the end of a career, as a man, Jimmy has landed in Steve Bisciotti’s good book.

To the future…

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

• Has produced 369 tackles (319 solo), 14 INTs (2 returned for TDs), 2 FRs (one returned for a 47-yard TD) and 74 PD in his career
• In 2020, played in 11 games (five starts), registering 27 tackles (23 solo), 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QBH and 1 PD for the NFL’s second-best scoring defense (18.9 ppg) and second-best third down defense (34.0%)
• In 2019, played nine games and recorded 30 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT and 6 PD, helping Baltimore’s defense rank No. 3 in points (17.6) and No. 4 in yards (300.6) allowed per game
• Registered a career-high 2 INTs, totaling a game-high 3 PDs, in the 26-24 win that clinched Baltimore’s AFC North title vs. Cle. (12/30/18)…The last Raven to have 2 INTs in a game was CB Corey Graham (2013 vs. NYJ)
• Led the team with a career-high 10 solo tackles (11 total) at KC (12/9/18)
• In 2017, recorded 3 INTs, 28 tackles, 9 PD and 1 FR in 12 games prior to suffering a torn Achilles on 12/3 vs. Det….Also scored a FR-TD (47 yards) and INT-TD (50 yards)
• Returned an INT 50 yards for a TD and posted 3 PD in a 40-0 win vs. Mia. (10/26/17)
• Scored his second-career TD on a 47-yard fumble return at Oak. (10/8/17)

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