No one would have blamed him if he didn’t. After all, his younger brother had died in a motorcycle accident less than 24 hours earlier.
Smith opted to play, and the second-year wide receiver caught touchdown passes of 25 and 5 yards to help the Ravens beat the New England Patriots 31-30 Sunday night in a rematch of the AFC title game.
“I texted my mom when I got to the stadium. That was when I knew I was going to play,” Smith said. “She was excited about it. She said, ‘He’d want you to play.’”
With his teammates offering him encouragement and prayers, Smith not only played, but contributed heavily. He had six catches for 127 yards to help Baltimore (2-1) win its 12th straight at home.
“I gave him a psalm,” teammate Ed Reed said. “God’s in control, and God has a bigger plan than ours.”
“He’s a stronger man than I am,” Rice said. “If I had to face death within hours of playing the game, that would be a tough decision. He’s got two families, and he knows we have his back.”
Upon arriving at the stadium, the familiar surroundings helped Smith get ready to go.
“When I came here, the more I was grounded. The more comfortable I began to feel,” he said. “I’m glad I came back up here. It helped me out a lot.”
Coach John Harbaugh said: “If you’re around athletics, I guess you feel like it’s an escape, an opportunity to do what he does. He’s being doing it his whole life; he knows what to do. When Torrey said he wanted to play, the decision was finished. He was going to get the opportunity to play. He deserved that.”
A moment of silence was observed before the game for Smith’s brother.
“That touched me right there,” Smith said. “That the organization would honor my brother, one of my family members who had absolutely nothing to do with this program besides me.”
When the teams met in January, the Patriots squeezed out a three-point win at home to advance to the Super Bowl. The stakes weren’t nearly as high in this one, yet the game was eerily similar.View Entire Story
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