By the time Baltimore Ravens‘ wide receiver Torrey Smith hits the field Thursday night, he will have had a whirlwind week he will never forget. In a matter of five days, Smith will have played two football games, but more importantly, will bury his younger brother as well.
The tragic story of how Smith lost his younger brother, Tevin, to a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning came out to the media around 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. With such a huge game just hours away, it remained to be seen if Smith could dig down and play.
With a 1-2 start hanging in the balance, Smith left the team during the day on Sunday to be with his family, but told coach John Harbaugh that he would re-join the team for the big game against the New England Patriots.
Smith had a inconsistent start to the season for the Ravens, as the big-play speedster had yet to make his presence felt in the Ravens’ passing game. All that changed on Sunday night.
After his mother told him he should play because that is what his brother would have wanted, Smith suited up and took his normal starting wide receiver spot. Smith was emotional as the game started, as there was a moment of silence for Tevin. Once Smith wiped away some tears after that moment of silence, he played like a man possessed.
Smith surpassed his season output, as he raked in six balls for 127 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown grab was of the beautiful variety, as he went up over cornerback Kyle Arrington for a 25-yard touchdown for the Ravens’ first score. The touchdown came after the Patriots took an early 13-0 lead.
Smith then reeled in a 5-yard touchdown to draw the Ravens within two points, as that score allowed the Ravens to only need a field goal on their final drive. After a defensive stop, Justin Tucker‘s game-winning field goal as time expired gave the Ravens a massive win over an arch rival.
Smith was presented the game-ball after the game, and Smith was very composed during his post-game press conferences as well. He spoke fondly of his brother and even forged a smile or two as he talked about his little brother.
So, with Smith having the breakout game most Ravens’ fans had hoped for, can Smith turn this personal tragedy into football triumph?
As stated, Smith’s big game surpassed his season totals from the first two weeks combined. He had two more catches against the Patriots than he had the first two weeks combined. His 127 yards receiving eclipsed his 108 yard total from weeks one and two. His two touchdowns were the first of the season for Smith, as he was the only wide receiver in the AFC to catch two touchdowns in week 3. So, maybe going through personal hell will put things in perspective and allow Smith to blossom into the receiver many think he can be.
Remember, Smith is in just his second season, and the former Maryland Terapin is only 23-years-old. After Sunday’s breakout performance, Smith now sits eighth in the AFC in yards. More telling though is his big-play potential as he has the highest average yards-per-catch of any of the top 15 wide receivers in the AFC.
Smith left the team on Monday to be with his family. Ever the professional, Smith returned to the Ravens today as Baltimore prepares for the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. Upon returning today, Smith asked not to be interviewed, as he both continues to mourn as well as prepare for the Browns.
The way Smith has handled himself both on and off the field since his world was turned upside down is nothing short of heroic. After such a life-altering event, expect Smith to become a more dangerous and consistent football player, as sometimes your career and life as a whole gets put in perspective when such a tragedy occurs. If Smith can be that composed on and off the field just hours after a catastrophic event, expect big things from Smith the rest of the way as he continues to become a better football player, and more importantly, a better man.