If you've read my Father's Day column, you know that Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and O's first baseman Chris Davis all are celebrating the holiday as fathers for the first time. If not, you can check it out right here.
Trouble is, the new dads had lots to say on the subject and there was not nearly enough room in the paper for everything, so here are some more excerpts from my interview with Smith. I'll post similar blogs with Jones and Davis shortly.
The main theme running through the conversation with Smith was his commitment to make sure his infant son T.J. (Torrey Jeremiah) has all the love and fatherly attention possible from someone who could not take that for granted during his own childhood. Torrey Smith spent a lot of his childhood taking care of his younger brothers and sisters before establishing himself as a terrific football player at the University of Maryland.
"This is my boy and I take a lot of pride in being a great father,'' he said. "With that, every decision I make today, I understand that affects him. I take a lot of pride in going about that the right way and I'm someone he'll look up to."
That's not always easy in the glitzy world of professional sports and a lot of NFL stars have taken a different path, but Smith is determined to be a proper role model for his son and for young Ravens fans.
"I think the bigggest thing about being a professional athlete is that you're in the spotlight,'' Smith said. "If I go out and do something crazy, whether I choose to or not is going to be a reflection on my child. Years down the road, he's going to look up his dad's name and he's going to know his dad played for the Ravens, but he's also going to know that his dad did X, Y and Z or got in trouble. You don't want that. My thing is, I want to be the best man that I can be, when I preach to my child certain things – what to do, what not to do, just the right thing in general – he'll respect it, because I lived it and I walked it. That's what I'm trying to do right now."
Jones and Davis will be playing in front of their new families on Father's Day. Smith is out of season right now, but he can't wait for the day that his wife Chanel can bring T.J. to M&T Bank Stadium to see him in action.
"That's definitely a blessing,'' he said. "I look forward to seeing him out there in the stadium. It's like I have my own family now. It's the way everything works out and I did it – quote unquote – the right way. The way I wanted to do it. I wanted to be married and my child to be here and experience everything I didn't have and show him there's a right and wrong way to do it. I'm not judging people because I didn't come from that, but it's the right way to do it and it's okay. It's all good."