Ravens' Torrey Smith has inspiring game hours after brother's death
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted a photo of his brother who died in a motorcycle accident.
September 24th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Ravens' Torrey Smith has inspiring game hours after brother's death

When Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith showed up Sunday night for the game against the Patriots, he had a lot more on his mind than the AFC championship rematch so many fans were waiting to see.

Smith had barely slept and wasn't even sure if he would play. He had driven home to Virginia after learning hours earlier his younger brother Tevin had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Shortly before grabbing an hour of sleep, at around 5:30 a.m., he tweeted about how much his brother meant to him.

[tweet https://twitter.com/TorreySmithWR/status/249849716655919104%5D

An hour later, as tributes to his brother were pouring in, Smith posted a picture of the two of them together, saying, "I can't say a bad thing about him... proud to have him as a brother. ..."

[tweet https://twitter.com/TorreySmithWR/status/249861582262263808%5D

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, he finally made the decision he would play - in honor of his brother.

"It was tough emotionally. I didn’t know how I would hold up," Smith said after the game. "I was telling my teammates a minute ago that this is new territory for me personally. I never really had to deal with a death in the family, let alone my brother. In our family, everyone’s so tight. Just like a lot of other families. It’s part of life and, due to my teammates and my family and friends, I’ll be able to get over it.”

When Smith got to the stadium, he said he texted his mother.

"That’s when I really made my decision I was going to play," Smith told reporters at a press conference after the game. "So she was excited about it. She was like, ‘Of course, he’d want you to play.’ He’d admired me so much ... and it’s just a tough situation altogether."

Smith received words of encouragement from everyone inside the club and around the globe. On Twitter, fans shared their condolences. Inside the clubhouse, safety Ed Reed, who lost his brother in 2011, gave Smith a psalm that he hoped would help him through the tough time.

"God’s in control, and God has a plan bigger than ours. We don’t know our time, none of us. We all experience the same things, so I just told him that we’re here for him; I’m here for him," Reed said, recalling his conversation with Smith to reporters after the game.

"I can relate to him. I told him we get so caught up, like our pastor said today, in the physical and what we see. I still talk to my (late) brother to this day because I know there's much more to us than just being here. I told him that he could still have those conversations. Just know that he’s in a much better place."

Taking the field Sunday night, Smith was moved by a moment of silence for his brother.

“That touched me right there, the fact that the organization took the time out to honor my brother, one of my family members, who had absolutely nothing to do with this program besides me," Smith said. "He loved being up here. His birthday was October 6, coming up. He was going to come up Thursday, come to the game versus the Browns, raid my house all week. I’m just thankful (for) the organization; it’s everything I thought it would be. The way they care about you. That’s the reason I wanted to be in Baltimore. That’s the reason I wanted to be a Raven.”

And it seems that Smith wanted to make his team and his brother proud.

He played a spectacular game, with two touchdowns and 127 yards on six catches, despite the adversity and pain. His brother, he said, was everything to him.

"He’s honest, he had a great heart. A lot of people say that all the time when people pass, but he truly was that person," Smith told reporters. "When you see him mad, you’d always laugh because it didn’t look right. So, to be around him, his big smile and his laugh, which was probably one of the most annoying laughs ever, I’m definitely going to miss him. He laughed so hard at everything, and you know, he’d do anything for you. It’s a tough loss for us."

Smith helped lead his team to a 31-30 victory against the Patriots.

In the second quarter, he hauled in a 25-yard pass to put the Ravens on the board for the first time and cut the score to 13-7.

He fell to the ground as he pulled in the pass. After the touchdown, he took a knee and pointed up to the sky. It's a typical move for players, but the meaning was much more personal Sunday night.

"I just said a quick prayer, took a knee. You know, obviously you play with a heavy heart; you want to play for that person," Smith said after the game.

It was the first of Smith's two key touchdowns that helped lift the Ravens toward victory.

"How do you explain it? Coming from a faith perspective, God and heaven work in ... mysterious, wonderful ways," head coach John Harbaugh said of Smith's performance. "I am not talking about winning and losing; I am talking about what you see people accomplish in the face of adversity. That’s really what it’s all about. To me, that’s one of the great things about sports."

The support from his team, rivals and fans helped give Smith the extra push he needed, the player told reporters.

"He seemed like he was ready to play football and ready to go out there and help us get a win," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "That was great; we all wanted to rally around him and go get it for him."

Getting the win proved to be a tough task for the Ravens, who finally sealed the game with a last-minute field goal. But it was Smith's performance that stood out for most of the players.

"I think he did what his brother would have wanted him to do, and that’s to go out and play like a Raven," running back Ray Rice said afterward. "And what a show he put on for his brother tonight."

NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol dies

Check out a photo gallery of highlights from Sunday's NFL action

SI's Peter King: Replacement refs making NFL games a joke

Soccer player tosses live grenade

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    My heartfelt condolences to the family. Precious life that ended far too soon. May he RIP.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Liza

    He made a very public decision so I feel free to say ... I wish he'd stayed with his mom.

    It's very sad and family, IMO, comes before work.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr uke

      is it really necessary to judge him at a time like this? had to be the hardest decision of his life

      September 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • lyncher

      nobody cares, including him, what you think he should have done. You don't even know him or his mother.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ckendall

      Liza, if Torrey had gone out there & played terribly, I guess people would then have reacted differently. That maybe it wasn't the right decision to play after his bro's death. Actually, I wasn't even certain that he would play earlier on. But he showed up to work & played terrific & dedicated the night to his brother. And he received lots of support, from his teammates, his fans, AND his family. So I didn't have a problem with it. It was Torrey's decision, not anyone else's. Family DOES come 1st, I agree. But it's OK to at least try & do something honourable to show your love & faith, even if that means trying to carry on with your normal life. It's going to be a difficult time for the Smith family. But something tells me that they're strong people & will find a way to cope with this.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mendacitysux

      Liza justifies her ignorance by the fact he is a public personality.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vad

      Nobody would not have thought any less of him had he decided to stay with family. He made a decision to honor his brother by doing what his brother loved to watch him do. Why would anyone question the manner he chose to deal with his grief? May his brother rest peacefully.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rhustox30c

      In theory, I agree with Liza. Family first. But from the conversation he had with his mom, it sounded like she wanted him to play, too. Something about sports - maybe because it is so public - seems almost appropriate in these situations. No one would tell an office worker, "No, you go to work and make those sales calls - make your brother proud." Sports performance is a very public way to show tribute to someone through your efforts. As long as the heart is in the right place, and all involved are OK with it, then I guess it's OK.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ravens1762

      liza, he didn't miss the funeral. he left for a few hours to join his other family and then went back to his mother and family. we love you torrey and appreciate you.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLAHBLAHLIZA

      LIZA, HE DID PUT FAMILY FIRST. IF YOU DIDN'T READ IT CORRECTLY HE LEFT THE TEAM AT 2:30 IN THE MORNING TO DRIVE TO HIS HOME. THEN PROCEEDED TO RETURN TO THE FOOTBALL GAME. GET FACTS STRAIGHT AND QUIT JUDGING A MAN ON WORKING TO PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY READ THE STORY AGAIN

      September 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. George

    I am a football fan and a Ravens fan. (As well as a Headline News / CNN fan...)
    That was truly one of the most remarkable performances I have seen, not only by the Ravens, but by a single player dealing with such a personal loss. This will go down as one of the best all time greatest games!
    My heart goes out to Torrey and his family on their tragic loss.
    They are in my thoughts and prayers.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    A tragedy has turned into a story of faith, love, commitment and family. It is a family of many that showed through. Bless his family in having a true loving son.

    Thank you CNN for a wonderful article. You captured the right message.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • dre

      Really? You got all of that from this dude not recognizing the loss of an alleged loved one? Wow.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ckendall

    We hear way too much about all the negative stories in sports, but THIS story in particular is one of both tragedy & triumph. Here's a guy who's living the dream of playing in the NFL, suddenly he loses his younger bro in a tragic accident. You would understand why he might have chosen to skip the game & be with his family in this time of grievance. But he shows up to the stadium & goes out & plays arguably the game of his life in front of a primetime TV audience & helps his team to a BIG win. Amazing. Not a Ravens fan, but I can definitely respect a guy like Torrey Smith. Way to go Torrey. And Condolences to the Smith family.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. suck it up

    one more thing his lil brother wrecked the bike against a light pole is he even old enough to be riding a bike ? or maybe none of this would've happened if his famous NFL star brother didnt give him things like a motorcycle we all know how black people like to spend their "well earned" money right ......they always buying things they could never have before or may i say afford

    September 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • lyncher

      holy moly, you are the problem with this country.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lizzy10

      Crawl back into your hole.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dejavu65

      I think people of all races ride motorcycle only a redneck like you would make this story a racial issue...GO shoot yourself because Obama is the President and he is BLACK!!

      September 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etank34

      Sorry to say that Romney is going to lose...take your racism to faux news please.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trebec

      Dude, shut up. You are a moron and a racist.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • merlene

      yes he was old enough, he was 19 years old.

      September 25, 2012 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. kica

    People deal with with death differently. He played through SOME of his pain. I'm quite sure in the following days, weeks months he will grieve even more profoundly. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ckendall

    Besides negative stories, there appears to be negative PEOPLE in the world as well: in other words, people who wake up every day so miserable at the world that they react negatively to EVERY story out there. People, LIGHTEN UP for once. Live a little. People today are too crooked & moody & don't appreciate what they have anymore. After hearing this story, people need to appreciate the life you have & the things you have & STOP crying about things you don't have or can't afford. Is that to difficult to understand for some? I guess so.

    TIRED of hearing negative responses from negative people in the world.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Po the Panda(From Kung Fu Panda)

    RAVENS SUCK!!!!!!

    Torrey Smith sucks!!!!

    GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ckendall

      Hey Panda, I'm a Giants fan too, but I'm also an NFL fan in general. I thought it was a GREAT game, & the situation surrounding Torrey Smith seemed to make it a little more signifigant. I don't like the Ravens either, but they're a pretty tough team, & they manned up against the Patriots. Just like the GIANTS have done as we know.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • rtrey85

      You are what makes us other Giants fan look bad. The Ravens aren't even in our division OR conference..

      September 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • irvine_44

      hey po thanks for that stupid comment just because you don't like the ravens doesnt meen you tell another human being who lost not only flesh and blood relation but probably one of the closest things he had as a best friend so i think i speak for myself and many other human beings who actually have feelings and a ravens fan at that, that comment was completely unnecesarry and that you need to put your hand on your chest and see if your heart is still beating because from the way i see it you dont have one. on the other hand im sorry for your loss torrey you played amazing and your brother was in a better place watching you play that game for him great job.
      go ravens

      September 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • dre

      Hey Irvine 44, if torrey gave a crap about his brother, he would be mourning, not playing ball, jagoff!

      September 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CaesarXIII

    Did Heyward-Bey wake up yet?

    September 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BLAHBLAHLIZA

    LIZA, HE DID PUT FAMILY FIRST. IF YOU DIDN'T READ IT CORRECTLY HE LEFT THE TEAM AT 2:30 IN THE MORNING TO DRIVE TO HIS HOME. THEN PROCEEDED TO RETURN TO THE FOOTBALL GAME. GET FACTS STRAIGHT AND QUIT JUDGING A MAN ON WORKING TO PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY

    September 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Seaninaz

    Talk about a non story. People die everyday, and their loved ones still have to go to work or school. Hell, if i made the millions this tool makes, I would step over my dead grandmother to get to my job that day. Suck it up wuss – your life is a cakewalk.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ameri2010

    How very sad. I watched the Steelers game and then turned off the TV not knowing anything about this very courageous and heartfelt story. May God's encouragement of eternal life strengthen and bring peace to Torrey and his family. God's Blessings extended.

    Steelers Fan

    September 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Dude

    RIP to your brother, but football is a meaningless activity. So you helped your boss make some money, it has nothing to do with your brother , his life or anything else really. Use your wealth to create a scholarship in his name, perhaps that is something of worth you can get out of football.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ravens1762

      it's not a meaningless activity if it is your job and how you support your family, no more meaning less than your job. but this isn't why he played that game. he was gone for a few hours and then rejoined his family. torrey hasn't had an easy life up until his football career, by any means. the oldest of 7 kids, helped raised his other siblings. he is just what is known as a responsible adult and wanted to follow through on his commitments. if his mother didn't want him to leave for a few hours, i am sure he would have stayed. some of the comments on here are disgusting.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      I save lives in my job.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • dre

      Everyone is claiming what a great act this was. Yeah right. If he had any regard for family and human life, he'd be mourning not playing a game. Guess he needed the payday more than needed to show someone he allegedly loved some respect,.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Coltsfan102

    I think we should pray and have respect people who are having hard times with the lost of loved ones!

    September 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6