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Football Betting Odds: Torrey Smith's Heart

Written by Andrew Scofield   
Friday, 16 November 2012 07:18

Football Betting OddsThere is a verse in the Bible - Proverbs 27:17 - that head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh, often referred in team meetings. I love this picture, the broader meaning, and so repeated almost daily. It is a way of summarizing what he believes and loves about football betting, about devotion and companionship that a team must have to be successful.

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

Repeat that line is also the easiest way to explain how Harbaugh Torrey Smith, a wide receiver and sensitive tranquillo sophomore, of Colonial Beach, Virginia, became one of the most important players on a team full of players Pro Bowl and has at least two future Hall of Famer.

"We talk a lot about the cauldron of competition and fire that perfects us, we forge" said Harbaugh. "We talked about if you're the type of person that will sharpen the next player, because that's how teams are made. To me, any championship team is never divided. And for me, Torrey is the perfect example of how the right person is doing the right things. "


Smith's impact on the franchise this season goes well beyond his 31 receptions for 548 yards and seven touchdowns. Although progress has been as a receiver since the Ravens drafted him in the second round in 2011 from Maryland has been important, it emerged as a unifying force in the locker room is a big reason why Baltimore, visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, is on track to be the only franchise in NFL to make the playoffs for five consecutive seasons.

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"It's one of those players strangers for no agenda," said Harbaugh. "He wants to know what is expected of him and do the best you can do.'s Not trying to trick you, not trying to impress you, just trying to be himself."

Smith's journey to this point in his NFL career is a story of perseverance and loyalty, but also very sad. On September 23, Smith's younger brother, Tevin Jones, died in a motorcycle accident in Montross, Virginia, less than 24 hours before the Ravens will play the New England Patriots. Smith left the team hotel in the middle of the night to be with his family, and the Ravens were preparing to face the Patriots next day without him.

"I received a call from our security personnel, at 1:30 am, telling me what had happened and then you're like a father," said Harbaugh. "It was awesome. Course I felt sad. But was impressed. Our team learned in the morning and you could see it in their faces. Were pale."

What happened next was as moving as surreal. Smith returned to the team after having slept little over an hour. He attended chapel team, decided that his brother would have wanted me to play, and then went out and caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a dramatic win, 31-30. When he caught his first touchdown on a 25-yard reception, pointed skyward and ran to the sideline with tears in his eyes.

"My teammates, I love them to death, they helped me through this," Smith said after the game.

Just over a month later, the Ravens players and coaches are still talking about what happened that night at the M & T Bank Stadium.

"It was amazing", said quarterback Joe Flacco. "I think we can not even imagine what it was for him. To play this game under these circumstances is very special. Not even know if I would be able to play if you were in their shoes."

"That was his way to relieve your pain for a few hours," said wide receiver Ravens LaQuan Williams, who also was a teammate of Smith in Maryland. "Football was his way out."

It remains a difficult issue for Smith. Staff has requested media relations for the Ravens to reject all requests for interviews that focus on what happened to his brother. It's too soon. But understand why people find her so inspiring performance.

"Football is one of those games that definitely relates life in many ways," said Smith. "Everything can be fine, and just like that, you lose a ball. Things go south and you're going in the opposite direction. How are you going to recover from that, that's the beauty of the game. Unites many people, and you can learn many life lessons. I've been through a lot before, so there's nothing I can throw this game and I can not handle. "

Smith intelligence and maturity were forged at least in part, by its infancy atypical Virginia. Smith, the eldest of seven children, he spent much of his formative years changing diapers, preparing meals and enlisting his brothers to go to school, while his mother, Monica Jenkins, worked multiple jobs and attended night school. When he was seven, was practically an adult.

"It was like the father of the family for a long time," said Williams.

His position coach at Maryland, Lee Hull, used to joke that after a big win, the whole team would be held in the social scene of College Park, all but Smith, who entrenched himself in his bedroom hoping complete the task. That is one reason why Smith was able to graduate in criminology and criminal justice, although he left Maryland with a year of eligibility remaining.

Harbaugh said the Ravens took all that into account when they drafted Smith in the second round in 2011, ignoring the skeptics who thought they did not perform well their routes, they did not have big hands, and never become a receiver NFL starter. It was seen as a fast player, but not quite as a wide receiver. Several Ravens fans, having been disappointed by receivers like Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton, were among his biggest critics, especially after Smith would drop several passes in the preseason. Very few people seem to remember that the lockout eliminated all offseason and organized team activities, and Smith was struggling to learn a new style of running routes and a new playbook.

"It was crazy," said Smith. "I guess that comes with being a high pick in the draft. Everyone assumes that [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] can not select a wide receiver. Heard that a million times before I even stopped on the premises of Ravens ".

After failing to record a single reception in the first two games of the Ravens, criticism was strong enough that both Harbaugh and Flacco felt compelled to respond to what they perceived as unreasonable expectations.

"Here's a guy who obviously was successful fast as receiver. Exceeded expectations for us," Harbaugh said. "And yet people kept calling it fiasco. Could not have succeeded faster than it was. That shows them that expectations were unrealistic."

Skeptics, however, began throwing compliments, especially after the third game of Smith in the NFL game against the St. Louis Rams.

"I remember we had sent a fielder's hook, and cornerback went to press it and switched to route nine [a route that went full speed], just as it was supposed to do," said Hardy.

Flacco threw a perfect pass to Smith, for his first reception in the NFL, and when he left to run was a 74-yard touchdown. Minutes later, Smith caught another touchdown pass from Flacco on a post route to deep. A few minutes after that, Smith caught his third touchdown pass - all in the first quarter - when Flacco changed the play, a carry near the goal line and threw a perfect pass over cornerback in the area end.

"It was a great opportunity for him to come and gain some confidence" Flacco said. "These moves can be very important for the confidence of a player, in fact for the rest of his career. We live in a world now, now, now, one has to make a good first impression, and it was able to do that at that stage was very important to him. "

Smith progression from there was much more gradual, but by studying the footwork and work ethic of veteran receiver Anquan Boldin, with religious devotion, gradually became a consistent route runner.

"Last year was considered only a receiver of a route," said Ravens running back Ray Rice. "But we knew what we had in Torrey. Was the perfect example [to follow] in Anquan, a great professional and a great leader. Already had a great engine. Remember the coach saying, 'This guy will fall within the scope before you exit the game. '"

The Ravens, unlike computers that use the West Coast offense, do not want their receivers to make precise cuts of 90 degrees when they leave their routes. The Air Coryell offense of Baltimore asks the recipients to fold their routes while running at full speed, a change that may seem subtle but it is one that - for a wide receiver - is like trying to learn to write with his left hand after spending his entire life writing with his right.

"I was taught to do in college," Smith said. "There are other teams in the league who do like we did in college. But the way we do, surround all because it is faster. Still doing precise cuts, but requires new technique and we had an offseason to work in that. "

In Week 9, in a crucial road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith played a game that could have been a microcosm of his whole entire season. He dropped four passes, including a beautiful pass from Flacco appeared that could have given them the win. But in the last seconds of the game, Flacco gave him another chance and he retaliated by receiving a hand behind the Steelers cornerback William Gay, who secured the win, 23-20.

Harbaugh was so excited I ran to the press conference after the game - still soaked by Gatorade bath he received on the sideline - and quoted the famous words of Teddy Roosevelt, "There is criticism that counts" when asked about previous problems Flacco and Smith.

"We all have problems and we all struggle," he said Harbaugh. "So I'm not judging anyone. But being criticized for overreacting to a victory and How if one should not get excited? Look, if you can not thrilled by the success of a friend or someone who led or from whom they learned, if they can do that, what is the value of life? If they can not get excited about anything. do not want your life. Torrey I was excited. "

This season, the feeling was different. The Ravens knew they had a rising star in Smith, a quiet leader in the locker room. "It was one of the few players who can say, 'It's a Raven,'" said linebacker Terrell Suggs. "One traces the history of the organization and there are few players who can say, 'It's a Raven.' I think Torrey is shaping up to be one of them."

Tevin Jones, 19, idolized his older brother. He was starting quarterback at King George High School in his senior year. According to Virginia State Police, the night of September 22, Jones was riding his motorcycle on Highway 672 in Westmoreland County in northeastern Virginia when it left the road and hit a light pole: He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. He was wearing his helmet and there was no indication of alcohol. The next day, Smith wrote a message about Tevin on his Twitter account: "I can not believe that my brother is gone. Be grateful for your loved ones and tell them you want, this is very difficult."

The day his brother died, no one on the team wanted to feel Smith was forced to play against the Patriots. Yes, it was a big game, a rematch of the Game by the AFC Championship, but this was much bigger than that. One by one, players and coaches from the Ravens came to hug and offer condolences. Harbaugh wanted Smith understood that his family would be there for him, no matter what you decide to do.

Hours before the game, had not yet made a decision about whether I wanted to play. But he decided he wanted to go to the chapel of the team. When entered, the players, some coaches and team priest, Rod Hairston, rose and formed a circle. Several minutes passed in prayer, arms wrapped around him.

"It was just a handful of players standing there, but it was very powerful," said assistant head coach of the Ravens, Craig View Steeg. "We were asking the Lord to give him strength to overcome this difficult time. Was a time full of faith. Could feel at Torrey take hold there. Was an example of how a team can be a family.

As iron sharpens iron, each tried to give Smith a portion of himself at that time. When he left the chapel, saw Harbaugh and said he wanted to play. The Ravens held a moment of silence before the game for Tevin, and shortly after Smith was standing in the end zone with the ball in his hands pointing to the sky.

"Let's be honest, this is a fun to do," Harbaugh said. "But together parents and children, husbands and wives, or friends. Gives you something to talk about. If someone is to be associated with our team, I want them to be proud of it. And that, for me, was a shining moment where the character was revealed, especially for Torrey. Okay, if you are fond of the Ravens, can say, 'It's worth.'m attached to it and is a good thing.'s better than me.'s bigger than me. "

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