The Ravens made Jimmy Smith 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 with me 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 and determine which binder he wanted to be in when his career was over.
That was a little over 11 years ago. 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.
“You really have to take it all in.”
CB Jimmy Smith talked about enjoying the moment before what could potentially be his last NFL game.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 6, 2022
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.
“Honestly, it’s really the brotherhoods, the friendships that you make. Like I said, you get good coaches; you get [pass game coordinator/secondary coach] Chris [Hewitt], you get [head coach John] Harbaugh. You get these people that are in your life, and it’s like, I’m so used to being in this locker room with people and chopping it up and having fun and all this, and then all of a sudden, it’s just gone. And that part is a little bit different. Obviously, I’m going to come around a lot more and start being around. But it’s the camaraderie, the memories you make, the big wins. The flights home from big wins are something I’ll always miss. Those are just epic. You get that win, you have a nice time on the plane, and it’s excellent.” ~ Jimmy Smith on what he’ll miss the most about playing in the NFL
JIMMY SMITH 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)