Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith jogged by himself up and down the sideline Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, a solemn moment for him following the death of his younger brother.
It was a solitary time for Smith shortly after rejoining his teammates four hours before kickoff against the New England Patriots.
And it was less than 18 hours after Smith learned that his brother, Tevin Jones, had died when his motorcycle struck a utility pole in the Montross area of Virginia, Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson told The Baltimore Sun.
After wiping a tear away from his eye before the first quarter, Smith, who had traveled to Virginia early Sunday morning to be with his family prior to returning to Baltimore for the game, went to work on the Patriots' defense. By the second quarter, a visibly emotional Smith was pointing toward the sky after grabbing a 25-yard touchdown.
Jones, who was 19 years old, grew up being nurtured and mentored by his brother who led the Ravens with six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
"It was tough emotionally," Smith said afterward. "I didn't know how I would hold up. I was telling my teammates a minute ago that this is new territory for me personally. I never really had to deal with a death in the family, let alone my brother. It's part of life and, due to my teammates and my family and friends, I'll be able to get over it.
"Obviously, you play with a heavy heart. You want to play for that person. My mom, all my family, they didn't even know I was going to play until the last minute. She was like, 'Of course, he'd want you to play.' He admired me so much, and it's just a tough situation altogether."
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.”
Smith first mentioned his brother's death on his Twitter account Sunday morning.
“I can't believe my little brother is gone,” Smith wrote. “Be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them. .. This is the hardest thing ever.”
Smith posted a photograph of himself and his brother, also writing: “I can't say a bad thing about him...proud to have him as a brother...RIP Tevin.”
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.
"Torrey is a great, great young man," coach John Harbaugh said. "We dedicate that victory to Tevin and to the whole family. When Torrey said he wanted to play, then the decision was finished. Obviously, he's a pretty special guy."
After his second touchdown, Smith knelt in the end zone and said a prayer.
Smith said he gathered strength from being around his teammates.
"My teammates, they keep you focused," Smith said. "I didn't want to be out there, just running around, doing nothing. If I was going to be out there, I was going to give it my all. You're on the lines, you just want to make the play.
"Afterwards is when you can sit back and reflect on things. My teammates, I love them to death, and they helped me get through this."
Several Ravens, including wide receivers LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss and running back Ray Rice expressed their condolences to Smith and his family via Twitter.
Afterward, they passed on their admiration for his fortitude and concentration.
"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 being the family man that I am. He's got two families, he knows that we have his back."
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin marveled at Smith's focus.
"It was probably a relief for him to come out and play football for three hours," Boldin said. "I can't imagine being in that situation, but he came out and played his butt off. I saw him throughout the day.
"You could see times where he thought about it, but when it came to game time, he was pretty focused. All we can do is be there for him. It's a tough situation. All you can do is put your arms around him."
Among Smith's teammates, what Smith experienced was painfully familiar territory for free safety Ed Reed.
Prior to the Ravens' playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs two years ago, Reed's younger brother drowned after jumping into the Mississippi River near New Orleans.
After spending a few days away from the Ravens, Reed rejoined his teammates and contributed to a wild-card win.
"When I went through losing my brother, being around these guys really helped," Reed said. "Everybody is mourning and trying to figure out what happens. I gave him a psalm. God's in control and God has a plan bigger than ours. We don't know our time, none of us.
"I just told him that we're here for him, I'm here for him. I can relate to him. I still talk to my brother to this day because I know there's much more to us than just being here. I told him that he could still have those conversations, just know that he's in a much better place."
In Virginia, King George High School football coach Jeff Smith, was shocked early Sunday morning upon learning that Jones had been involved in a fatal accident.
Jones was the starting quarterback for King George two years ago as a senior, and Jeff Smith remembered him as a friendly, trouble-free young man.
“Tevin was a happy-go-lucky kid, always smiling, he never had a bad day,” Jeff Smith said. “He was one of those kids who you enjoy coaching. It was a pleasure to have him be a part of my program. He led the way for the other guys by doing things the right way. His teachers loved him. Tevin did everything by the book.
“He wasn't a kid to stay out late or get into trouble. He was working and doing well for himself. He was a good athlete, good football player. Being our quarterback, mentally and physically he had it all. The kids believed in him, we believed in him. He did a great job for us. He was a tremendous athlete.”
Jeff Smith didn't coach Torrey Smith, who attended Stafford High School in Falmouth, Va., but got to know him through Tevin Jones over the past few years.
“Torrey has done a lot for our program through his foundation and Under Armour, and we're very appreciative,” Jeff Smith said. “He's very cordial, very polite. He's very, very close to Tevin. I'm speechless trying to think of how he feels and the position he's in. My heart goes out to all the immediate family.”
Along with his mother, Monica Jenkins, Torrey Smith helped raise Jones, and his six younger siblings through difficult circumstances.
That included the complete absence of Torrey Smith's biological father, his mother being the victim of domestic violence and her six-month incarceration for an altercation with a relative.
“He was the man of the house from a very young age,” Jeff Smith said. “They all chipped in and took care of each other. Tevin would look out for his little brothers and sisters when Torrey went off to school at Maryland. They all did whatever they needed to do.”
Torrey Smith remembered his little brother for his laughter, and his smile, as he paid tribute to him one day after his tragic passing.
"You had to be around him," Smith said. "He's honest, he had a great heart. A lot of people say that all the time when people pass, but he truly was that person.
"To be around him, his big smile and his laugh, which was probably one of the most annoying laughs ever, I'm definitely going to miss him. He'd do anything for you. It's a tough loss for us."
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