- - Thursday, February 22, 2018

Raised by a single mom and his grandmother, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith had a challenging childhood.

The Stafford County, Virginia, product excelled at the University of Maryland, and was a rising star with the Baltimore Ravens when tragedy struck in 2012, his second year in the NFL.

His teenage brother, Tevin Jones, had been killed in a motorcycle accident in northeast Virginia. A few hours later, Smith scored two touchdowns in a Ravens win against the New England Patriots that September.

A few months later, Smith and the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Now Smith has another championship under his belt. Earlier this month, he caught five passes for the Eagles in their Super Bowl upset win over the Patriots on Feb. 4.

“It is a blessing. I definitely don’t take it for granted,” Smith told The Washington Times recently. “If I didn’t have the support system I had I wouldn’t be here. I am very thankful for that. I know it is not going to last forever. I am going to continue to have fun. I know I have come a long way.”

How does his latest title compare with the one he won with the Ravens?

“For me personally I am more mature,” said Smith, 29, who graduated from Stafford High School. “I appreciate it a lot more. I realize how hard it was to get there. My first year we went to the AFC championship and should have won it; the next year we won the Super Bowl.”

After the Super Bowl, Smith went back to Virginia for a few days of rest with family, which includes his wife, Chanel, a former track athlete at the University of Maryland, and their two young sons.

“It was crazy,” he said of the post-championship parade in Philadelphia. “I need to catch up on some sleep.”

He will split his offseason between the Philadelphia area and the Baltimore-Washington corridor, where he’ll be carving out some time in the next few weeks for the Torrey Smith Family Fund’s charity basketball fundraiser March 17 at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore.

The game helps fund afterschool and mentoring programs in Baltimore and also raises money for the Tevin Jones Scholarship, in honor of his late brother.

“Currently we have an afterschool program. We also have a mentoring program. A few times during the week during the offseason I will be down there with those groups,” Smith said.

Terry Patton is the principal at Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School in west Baltimore where Smith has an afterschool program. Patton told The Washington Times that every student gets free breakfast and lunch and some students also eat supper there as well.

“It’s an impoverished area,” said Patton, but added it is a school Smith chose to work with after visiting others in the area.

She met Smith about a year ago and said he is a great role model, especially to young African-American boys. His afterschool program works with fourth- and fifth-graders.

“He is definitely a man of integrity and great character,” Patton said Monday. “He is truly family-oriented.” Patton also praised the support of Smith’s wife, a former teacher.

Smith said the time after school can be vital for young people.

“We realize the importance of that time and want to give kids the chance to improve after school instead of going home, where they may have more distractions,” he said.

Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards with two touchdowns in regular-season play this year, his first with the Eagles.

Smith is one of several Eagles, along with former University of Virginia standout Chris Long, who have said they will not attend any possible meeting at the White House with President Trump. The tradition of Super Bowl champions visiting the White House has been around for years.

“If I told you I wasn’t going to a party because the individual was sexist and had no respect for women, you would understand why I would not go to the party,” Smith said.

He said that should be no different when it comes to the president.

“I am not going,” Smith said.

 

TORREY SMITH FILE 

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

High school: Stafford (VA) High

Born: Richmond on Jan. 26, 1989

College: Maryland

Drafted: Ravens out of Maryland in the second round in 2011

NFL: Baltimore Ravens (2011-14); San Francisco 49ers (2015-16); Philadelphia Eagles (2017 to present)

Height/weight: 6-0/205

Did you know? Smith caught five passes in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots … The quarterbacks coach for the Eagles this season was John DeFilippo, a former JMU quarterback who recently was named the new offensive coordinator of the Vikings … Another wide receiver for the Eagles was Rashard Davis, who also played at JMU, in Harrisonburg, Virginia … University of Virginia products with the Eagles were defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Rodney McLeod … The long snapper for Philadelphia was Rick Lovato, who played at Old Dominion.

 


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