His heart heavy, Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens did something most players could not – or would not even try.
A day after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, the wide receiver gathered his emotions and not only played Sunday night against New England . . . he was a catalyst in the Ravens’ dramatic 31-30 victory.
He was a catalyst for the Ravens. Smith had six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Ravens the win over the Patriots in a rematch of the AFC Championship Game.
But it was Smith who was inspiring, performing at a high level less than 24 hours after his brother, 19-year-old Tevin Jones, died from injuries suffered in the crash.
“I can’t believe my little brother is gone,” Smith wrote on his Twitter account Sunday morning. “Be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them. . . This is the hardest thing ever.” Smith posted a photograph of him and his brother, also writing: “I can’t say a bad thing about him…proud to have him as a brother…RIP Tevin.”
According to Virginia State Police Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar, state police responded to the crash just before midnight on Route 672 Chatham Lane a half-mile west of Route 645 Zacata Road in Westmoreland County. Jones’ 2006 Yamaha YZF-R1 was traveling eastbound on Route 672 when he ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a utility pole, according to police.
Although he was wearing a helmet, police said Jones died at the scene. “Alcohol is not a factor in the crash,” Molnar said. “The crash remains under investigation.”
The Ravens left the decision on whether to play up to Smith, who set franchise rookie records last season with 50 receptions for 841 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith opted to play and started. Before the game, the Ravens observed a moment of silence for Jones.
“It was tough. I didn’t know until 4 o’clock if I was going to play,” Smith said. “I only had like an hour of sleep. Emotionally, I didn’t know how I was going to hold up.”
Smith left the team hotel at 1 a.m. Sunday to be with his family. 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.”
The moment of silence before the game meant a lot .
“It means a lot not just for us but for my family. … That’s for my little brother,” Smith said.