Current, former Ravens gather to support Torrey Smith's charity basketball game
By Jeff Zrebiec
The Baltimore Sun
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is still rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee, but he couldn't resist putting up a couple of jump shots and he certainly wasn't going to miss a chance to support his former teammate, Torrey Smith.
His broken arm still not 100 percent healed, Ravens running back Justin Forsett also wasn't going to risk a setback in his recovery by playing in a charity basketball game. However, it was important for him to support Smith, whom he called one of the best people he has ever met in the NFL.
Then, there was Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who had a rare Saturday off before he and the Orioles open their regular season Monday. Jones deemed helping out Smith as the perfect way to spend it.
"I think what Torrey does with the kids and education, it's the root of everything. I think we both harp on that," said Jones, who served as the coach of Smith's winning "red" team, led by Most Valuable Player Aquille Carr (Patterson). "I think what he's doing and his wife [Chanel], it's crazy that he's in San Francisco, but he still does events in Baltimore and still has the support of the city, which is tremendous."
Smith, heading into his second season with the San Francisco 49ers after playing four years with the Ravens, hosted his fifth annual charity basketball game Saturday afternoon at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore. All proceeds for the event benefited the Torrey Smith Foundation, which provides for at-risk youth.
The 27-year-old receiver, who grew up in Virginia and played his college football at Maryland, also awarded four students college scholarships in the name of his late brother, Tevin Jones.
"One thing I take a lot of pride in and I said that when I left, I didn't want to be a guy that is committed to the city when you are there, and then when you leave, you forget about it," Smith said. "Baltimore is home for us now. To have a fun event like this and also raise money for the foundation, which gives back to kids in the city, is a blessing."
The game filled up much of the lower level of the arena, and attracted a number of Smith's former teammates. Current Ravens Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High) and Sam Koch played, as did former Ravens Anquan Boldin, Qadry Ismail, LaQuan Williams (Maryland, Poly), Brandon Copeland (Gilman), Bryan Hall, Donte' Stallworth and Brynden Trawick.
Other current and former Ravens, such as Flacco, Forsett, Michael Campanaro (River Hill), Lardarius Webb, Jeremy Butler and Jameel McClain, also attended but didn't play.
"It's important to be here because of Torrey. He's just an awesome guy," Flacco said. "What he did for this community and what he continues to do — he comes back here a ton — I love Torrey to death.
"He'll always be a part of what I consider Baltimore because we had such a great run together."
Ravens Turn Out To Support Former Teammate Torrey Smith
By Garrett Downing
Based on the scene inside Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena Saturday afternoon, it seemed like wide receiver Torrey Smith never left the Ravens.
The former Raven and current San Francisco 49er returned to Baltimore this weekend to host his charity basketball game, and he had a strong showing of support from his old teammates.
“It’s important to be here because it’s Torrey,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He’s an awesome guy. What he did for this community, and what he continues to do, he comes back here a ton – I love Torrey to death, so I’ll be here all the time.”
Flacco, Lardarius Webb, Justin Forsett, Sam Koch, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler and Terrance West all attended the game. Other former Ravens like Anquan Boldin, Jameel McClain and Donte Stallworth, and local athletes like Orioles center fielder Adam Jones were also in attendance.
Most of the Ravens didn’t actually play – Koch, Butler and West were the only ones to suit up – but they still wanted to be there.
“They’re taking the time out to try to be here and I think it says a lot about them, more than anything else,” Smith said. “One thing that I took a lot of pride in and I said it when I left, is that I didn’t want to be a guy that was committed to the city when he was there, but then forget about it when you leave. Baltimore is home for us now and still to have a fun event like this, and also raise money for our foundation that gives back to kids in the city, it’s a blessing.”
Smith, a second-round pick by the Ravens in 2011, made the charity basketball game an annual event during his four years in Baltimore. The event has grown significantly from the first two years of having it at his high school in Stafford, Virginia. He then moved the game to his alma mater, University of Maryland, and this year was the first time it was actually in Baltimore.
“I was like, man everything we’re doing is really based in Baltimore, so why not do it there?” Smith said. “The support from the fans has been amazing, and we get to see a lot of faces that we’re helping with the foundation in the stands. It’s important to see that and it’s special as well.”
Smith was a fan favorite during his time with the Ravens, and the year away did not diminish that love affair for the fans in attendance Saturday. Plenty of people still donned their No. 82 Ravens jerseys, and his former teammates marveled at the reception from the Baltimore crowd.
“It’s crazy to see just the impact that he had on this city,” Forsett said. “The people love him, the city loves him, and he has a heart for the city still. It’s pretty remarkable.”
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