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. Reason

    Why is this news?
    Why am I supposed to care more that some football players brother died than all the people that just died in Los Angeles today that I am not hearing about?

    September 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • kanaric

      you have a heart of stone

      September 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      You just prove that all men and women are not humans. Go back under your rock.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twink

      Hey Reason....God help you.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Are you really that stupid?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You don't have to care ... but the rest of us do.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • For

      There is no Reason, other than the One Who created you... YOU, are the Reason he created all of us... Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty, Who Was, and Is, and Is to come...

      September 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blessings

      God bless this young man and his family. Just as well...God bless the haters, racists, and hardened, insensitive commenters.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dundokkian

      Reason, it's a matter of empathy. Try to acquire some?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dub

      Reading posts by morons like Reason, it's clear CNN needs to take a look at which articles are worthy of discussions. You'd think a poignant story about an NFL player making a decision to play days after his baby brother was killed would actually move a lot of people. You wouldn't expect trashy comments but that's what you get when idiots can hide behinnd their computers and have an idiotic opinion on anything under the sun. All folks need to do is offer a prayer or whatever, not trash a player whose heart is heavy because his brother just died. And if they cannot, then they have no business participating in these discussions. CNN should not even have allowed discussions.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajbuff

      Because the point of the story is not that his brother is more important than any other of the lives recently lost on this planet, but that Smith was able to turn his pain into something constructive and play an excellent game in memory of his brother. Nothing more and nothing less. Just an inspiring story about someone who let tragedy lift him and not destroy him. His brother would be very proud.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • PriorityMail

      ajbuff: very well said. couldn't have said it better.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pearl

    The death of a sibling is harder than many people realize. They are suppose to grow old with you not die young. You share so much from the time you are born and to be taken away unexpectadly like this is nothing short of traumatic. I understand how hard it is to process such a loss. My heartfelt sorrow goes out to you. This grief does not go away overnight. The pain is deep and the loss is forever. You are in my thoughts. Peace.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fred

    Why was this young man allowed to have a motorcycle? A motorcycle is so dangerous that I can't imagine how or why a person with his entire life ahead of him would ever dare risk his life for a cheap thrill. I'm not anti-motorcycles but this is just senseless and ridiculous. If you get on a motorcycle this is part of the deal.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Austin

      This has nothing to do with a motorcycle. You are an idiot for even trying to find a reason to bash this article.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • duckz86

      Live begins and ends at 120.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • PriorityMail

      He was allowed to have a motorcycle because he was an adult and that was his choice. You missed the whole point of the story. You sound like a troll.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David Friedman

    I find this guy too self-centered to do the right thing.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    Marcell Dareus the star DT for the Buffalo Bills brother was also killed last week. He also still played on Sunday and had a great game with a sack.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajbuff

      Absolutely . I'd love to read a story on that – he was very touching.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bad2worse

    Great game Mr. Smith. I am proud of you for your resolve. Sorry for your tragic loss< really an understatement.

    RIP-Tevin!

    September 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Meself

    Such a shame to lose a young man like that. My heart goes out to the entire family.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Traveler

    My grandpa died on a Friday early morning. We were really close. I debated what to do that Friday. I asked my parents if they needed my help on scheduling anything. My dad told me, just don't think about it. I went to all my classes in the university and that Friday night I went to a concert. Sunday was the funeral. I gave a speech representing the family (one of the worst experiences I had in my life – emotion wise) and the same night as well as the previous night (Saturday) I did participate in a comedy show that I was part of the cast. For many years I was debating whether I was completely idiot and if I pretended I was cool with the passing of my grandpa and did all those things. I think though it help me get a new perspective of life. People come and go, life goes on, and being part of bigger crowds all three nights helped me control my emotions much better than I would if I stayed around my family. That being said, I do not feel anyone should criticize the player on deciding to play. Everyone who has a loss needs a way to deal with it and sometimes family works better and some other times being to work works better. Well done Torrey!!

    September 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Whatever way one needs to deal with crippling grief is the correct way for that person...and no one in their right mind should ever criticize you for that.
      For some, it's unmitigated weeping; you chose a different way to deal with the loss of your beloved Grandfather, and there s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
      You will never get *over* your loss, but it sounds as if you got through it in the healthiest way possible, for *you*.
      Good luck in all your future endeavors!

      September 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • PriorityMail

      Traveler – I'm very sorry for your loss, but I am glad you found a way to cope. Some people need to just fill there time with constructive "normalcy" like you did. Best wishes to you and your family.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anders Behring Breivik (King of the Island)

    Greetings from Oslo. Give the guy his 5 minutes. After he drops a few passes in the next games, they will ask for his head...trade him...and all is forgotten.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dubrats

    after reading some of these posts...i am ashamed to be an american today....

    September 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • RunForTheHills

      Your post is based on the false premise that all posters here are American. I am not, but you're right, I certainly am ashamed of Americans. All Americans.

      America is the root cause of 99% of the world's problems.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Jacobs

      Oslo is in Norway, so he isn't an American....

      September 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RunForTheHills

    I wonder who little Tevin was trying to rob when he bought it...

    September 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      What a silly comment.
      Be quiet.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • BT

      lol that is probably the funniest victim like statement I have ever heard. Bravo, imbecile.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. News writer.

    You want to know why it's news? Because it has the elements of news that drive readership: Topical relevance, timeliness, mass appeal, personality and human interest. People love football. Torrey Smith is a rising star in the NFL for a successful franchise. Death always provides a news angle - especially when it involves a popular football player largely known as a "good guy" in the league, occurring the night before his team squares off in a rematch against a team they suffered a heart-breaking loss to in a major championship matchup the year prior. There's drama, resilience, and emotion - the story of a human being overcoming stark emotional odds to succeed on a big, national stage. If anyone thinks this story doesn't provide every morsel of what good news features are made of, they don't understand the foundations of journalism, reporting and news writing, and subsequently should ignore the news altogether. It's just above their heads.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Don

    Why was he "allowed" to have a motorcycle? Are you serious? He was an adult. Accidents happen, idiot.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. capitan

    I've never been happier to lose a game of Fantasy Football than last night as he caught his second TD. Torrey Smith is (seems to be) a great guy, and surely his brother would have wanted him to play. I'm totally drafting him next year. Class act and a great WR. RIP, Tevin.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. larry5

    It was a great game. A walk on, undrafted free agent rookie kicker iced the game with 2 seconds left on the clock recovering from a bad snap. Great drama. The kicker he replaced put them out of last years Super Bowl by missing the kick in a similar situation. Great turn around.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6