Before he comes back, the former Baltimore Ravens and University of Maryland receiver joined
Glenn Clark Radio
for a Q&A Feb. 22 to discuss his continued commitment to charity work in his former hometown, Mike Locksley's hire and more.
You haven't played in Baltimore since the 2014 season. Why do you continue to come back for charity endeavors?
Torrey Smith: It's crazy. Now I'll be going into my ninth year. It will mean I've played more games away from Baltimore than I have here when this season starts, which is kinda crazy to think of because it doesn't really seem like it's been that long. But this is home for us. We'll be settling down in this area. To me, you can't be committed to a city and its people -- see the issues and challenges that exist there -- and then leave it, if you have a heart. That's the way I feel with my family. I feel like its part of my purpose to be here. That's why we come back each and every year.
Do you have any regrets at all that you weren't able to stay in Baltimore for your whole career?
TS: You can't say "regrets" when you didn't have a choice. Everyone and their mom knows I wanted to stay here. But that was just the way it went. Now that's it's actually happened, it's pretty cool because I would have never had the opportunity to live in California, I would have never lived in Philadelphia where my wife is from, I would have never lived in North Carolina, because I would have stayed here. I think it's pretty cool to have those life experiences and to meet some people along the way.
You've been very vocal in your support of your alma mater hiring Locksley despite having never played for him. Why?
TS: First of all, he's a great coach, a talented coach. Then you see his personality and you know his ties and the fact that he really, genuinely cares about the area and you can relate to him, it means a lot. So I understand that Maryland football is -- everyone can't coach at Maryland and be successful, even though it has everything it needs to be successful. It's very competitive. You're always competing with other things because you're near D.C. and near Baltimore. There's always something going on. And so to have a fan base that genuinely care about that when FedEx [Field] is 15 minutes away and M&T Bank [Stadium] is 30, 40 minutes away, it's tough. So I think he's the right guy for it, to get the people of Maryland to care about Maryland football -- and most importantly, to try to keep some of these Maryland cats home. So there is a sense of pride.
Have you gotten to know him?
TS: I talk to him all of the time. I think he's a great guy, a great coach, great man. He's the type of person I can hit up to talk about whatever.
There's a belief in Baltimore that because of the way the Ravens were such a run-dominant offense with quarterback Lamar Jackson last year -- and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman's history of being near the bottom of the league in pass attempts -- that the Ravens will struggle to get free-agent receivers to sign here. Do you think that could be an issue for them?
TS: I think that does play a little factor, but there's this thing called a checkbook that they use. If you pay, guys are going to come so it doesn't really matter. I think that when you think long term, Lamar's a very talented player. I was actually with him a couple of weeks ago. I'm getting him to come out to the game -- not to play, but to come on out and kick it. I think he's going to be great for the franchise. He's electrifying and he's only going to get better. That's the thing about it. When the game slows down and he actually gets the reps he needs, he's gonna be a great player.
You continue to be very supportive of your former quarterback Joe Flacco. Why? And what do you make of the opportunity he's getting now in Denver?
TS: That's my guy, first of all. I don't let anyone talk bad about anyone I played with or cared about. Only I can talk trash. It's like a big brother thing. I can mess with my big brother or my little brothers but no one else can talk about them. With him, I don't think he's necessarily had the best chance. He's a very talented player. He's had some bad luck with getting hurt. I know what he's capable of. The things that people on the outside try to say is a fluke, well when you've seen it with your own eyes and you were a part of it, you're like, "Man, that's real talent." I hope he does well in Denver unless the Panthers are playing him.
That being said, do you think the Ravens have surrounded Flacco with enough talent in recent years to give him a fair chance?
TS: I think it's easy to point fingers at that, but had things [gone] well, you wouldn't be having that conversation. When you look at it, there were weapons there last year, even in the years past. But I think the one thing that I've seen from the outside is they weren't able to run the ball the same and protect the same as they were during our run in my opinion. That's really different if you can get a balanced attack like most teams have. You even see that with the Patriots, and they have the greatest quarterback ever. The more balanced you are, the more successful he is. And that was the formula that worked well for us a few years back.
As a football player, when you see a baseball player like Manny Machado get a 10-year, $300 million guaranteed deal, what do you think?
TS: I definitely wish I would have stuck with baseball for sure. You see things like that, it's crazy. But I'm not a hater, I'm happy for him.
Listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox