Ravens star wide receiver Torrey Smith has become well-known for his involvement in the Baltimore community.
The former Maryland standout holds an annual charity basketball game and visits several schools throughout the year through his charitable foundation, whose primary mission is to improve the lives of youth through educational support opportunities and resources.
Smith was presented Thursday with the Tim Wheatley Award, which was created in 2010 by the Baltimore Sun Media Group to honor local athletes whose contributions off the field are as important as those on the field.
The award is named after Tim Wheatley, The Baltimore Sun sports editor from 2006 to 2009. Wheatley was killed in a car accident Oct. 5, 2009 while driving his daughter, Sarah, to school. Wheatley was a strong advocate for community service. Last year's winner was Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis.
"There are many awards that recognize athletes for their on-the-field achievements, so The Baltimore Sun created this award for their outstanding community service in memory of our father," said Dave Wheatley, Tim Wheatley's son, following practice today at the Ravens' training complex. "Torrey has set up a foundation that helps kids around the Baltimore city area by providing educational support. He's perhaps the most active athlete in the Baltimore area when it comes to community service, and we are so happy to honor him with this award this year."
Smith was presented with the award by the Wheatley family, including Tim Wheatley's children, Dave, Will, and Sarah and his wife, Beth.
"Obviously, I heard a lot about your father and how he focused on the positives of the athletes in this community, and I'm excited to be on that side of the articles in the area, and I take a lot of pride in it," Smith said. "Being a professional athlete, there's a lot of responsibility that comes with it, and I completely understand that. I know what it's like to look up to guys. I know what it's like to be on the other side, too, in a tougher family situation. I believe that I've been placed in this organization for a reason, and specifically this city, and I understand that there's a lot of kids in this city that are in situations just like I had growing up.
"They're looking for somebody to relate to, and I take a lot of pride in being that guy, and I'm honored. To The Baltimore Sun, we appreciate you all because if it wasn't for you guys and your support writing things, getting the word started with our foundation .. we appreciate all of you. My wife and I, we feel like we were placed in this city for a reason and this isn't just a commitment for right now. This is a long-term commitment. We love this city, and I appreciate the Wheatley family and The Sun for this award."
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