It made too much sense.
The Ravens were looking to solidify their receiving corps and give quarterback Joe Flacco another target he could trust. Just released by the San Francisco 49ers, wide receiver Torrey Smith was looking for a place to resurrect his career after two disappointing seasons. He lived in Baltimore for part of the year and had many strong relationships from his four-year stint with the Ravens.
A reunion between player and team last March seemed inevitable. One national outlet even reported that it was going to happen. Yet, despite speaking to the Ravens during the free-agent process, Smith never felt that things got all that close between him and his former team.
“I don’t really think so. We talked, but with the way the timing was going, I kind of just had to make a decision,” Smith said in a phone interview with The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday night. “For me, this time around, it wasn’t about finances at all. It was about the right situation and the right time and that’s really kind of how it’s going to probably end up being for the rest of my career. I really just want to be in a good spot in a place where I can be comfortable and be happy.”
Smith, 29, felt plenty comfortable with the Philadelphia Eagles, too. He had a relationship with Eagles executive Joe Douglas from their time together in Baltimore. He was impressed with young quarterback Carson Wentz. His wife, Chanel, isfrom Philadelphia.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that the Ravens had interest in re-signing Smith. Flacco also said that he called his former teammate. What’s not clear is whether the Ravens made the receiver a contract offer and how much they were willing to pay.
Smith wound up signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Eagles.
“Obviously, I had interest in coming back. That’s home,” Smith said of a potential reunion with the Ravens. “I have a lot of respect for everyone over there. They know that. It’s love forever. But to have the opportunity to come up here with some guys I was familiar with and to play in my wife’s hometown, that was pretty cool as well. The way the timing and everything happened, I ended up here and it worked out.”
It sure did. The seventh-year receiver struggled at times with the Eagles, catching 36 balls for 430 yards and two touchdown passes in 16 regular-season games. However, Smith emerged in the postseason, catching 13 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown pass in the Eagles’ three postseason victories, including the win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
“You get to the point where you want to succeed so bad. I was kind of focused on the wrong things, like ‘This is a fresh start,’ rather than just, ‘Man, do your job, don’t press or anything. Everything will come to you.’ To have the opportunity again to be back in the playoffs and to be at my best at the end of the year, it was definitely special to finish on the right note.”
Torrey Smith Family Fund Charity Basketball Game
What: NFL players, including past and present Ravens, and local celebrities will take part in a basketball game to benefit the Torrey Smith Family Fund and its mentoring programs and scholarships.
When: March 17, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Royal Farms Arena
Tickets: Available at the Royal Farms box office or via ticketmaster.com. You can donate a ticket at torreysmith.org. Group sales are available.