Back in September 2012, the NFL world was gearing up for one of the best games of the early season, a Sunday night matchup between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots prevented the Ravens from going to the Superbowl the year before, and revenge was on everyone’s mind. As the game was drawing closer and the hype getting bigger, tragedy struck for one of Baltimore’s own.
Torrey Smith, a young, fast wide receiver on the Ravens, received a phone call a little after 1 am on September 23rd. Smith’s younger brother, Tevin Jones, died in a motorcycle accident, at only the age of 19. According to police reports, Tevin was wearing his helmet and alcohol wasn’t a factor in his crash. Just like that, a life was lost and a families world was shattered. Smith left the team hotel to be with his family that night, and his status for Sunday nights game up in the air.
Torrey grew up taking care of six younger siblings, learning to cook and change diapers at a young age to help his mother. Torrey was especially close to Tevin, and looked out for him all of the time. He would teach him to play sports and help him with his schoolwork. Losing his younger brother, one he was so close with was one of the worst feelings ever. Going back and forth about whether he should play or not, his family encouraged Smith to go and play football, not only for his brothers memory, but for his family as well. It was what they all wanted, and deep down what Torrey wanted too. It was one of the toughest moments of his career, more so than any football game he had been a part of or defense he had to play against.
As the Sunday night game was about to start, teammates crowded around Torrey, giving their condolences and sending prayers. They were going to rally around Torrey, win the game for his family. To the rest of the Baltimore Ravens, Torrey was family and what he lost, they lost too. The stadium announcer in Baltimore asked the crowd for a moment of silence, and cameras showed a teary eyed Smith on the sidelines, a heartbreaking moment for sure. Players on the team, including quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Ed Reed made it a priority to win that game, to help a family member out in his time of need.
Smith went on to have the game of his life. He caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. His play inspired the country, and after the game he received tons of messages to his Twitter and website page. His play truly inspired me, and vaulted Smith to being one of my favorite players in the NFL. I would root for him to have big games, and knew that he was playing for his brother. Anytime Smith was shown on the highlight reels on ESPN, you couldn’t help but smile.
When the Ravens made it to the Superbowl, it was all about Ray Lewis. Many fans wanted the Ravens to win so Lewis could go out a winner. I wanted the Ravens to win so that Torrey Smith could go out a winner, to cap off a great season and bring some joy to his family who went through such a tough year. Once the confetti fell and the Ravens players rushed the field, many cameras were on a smiling Smith, running around the field with tons of joy. This season was for his brother and his family, this Superbowl win was for his brother and his family.
In an age of diva wide receivers, ones who complain about not getting the ball and showboat and make it all about them, Torrey Smith showed that he was on another level of professionalism. His loss inspired the country, and Smith will be a player I will root for for as long as he is playing. God bless Torrey Smith and his family, and congratulations on your Superbowl victory. Tevin would be proud.
Torrey Smith’s pain early on ended up with him being on top of the world.