On Sunday, Jacksonville Jaguars rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey occasionally lined up against Smith in the Ravens' 19-17 road win. Smith finished with eight catches for 87 yards. Afterward, the two had an on-field altercation. Ramsey was not having it.
"Come up to me with some disrespectful stuff. The game over with," Ramsey told reporters. "You still mad because I was locking you up? All right. Go sleep on that. I ain't trying to hear that after the game."
"It is what it is," Ramsey added. "As a player, he's still a good player. I'll say that about him. But I don't respect him as a man."
Smith was not having that.
"In 5 to 10 u will be retiring and they will be taking my measurements for something you will NEVER BE. #HOFer," he wrote Sunday on Twitter. "I got cleats with stronger thread then you!!!"
As if a widely retweeted message wasn't enough, Smith went on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" on Monday morning as part of a new recurring role on the show. He was, of course, asked about Ramsey. He had some thoughts.
"Let's do Media 101: First, put your clothes on," Smith said. "Second, that was the sassiest head nodding I've seen from a young man that I want to see as a professional football player."
Then Smith got serious. He attributed his lack of matchups with Ramsey to his own football intelligence.
"So there's four spots that you can line up at: X, Z, Y and Zebra. I lined up in all four," he said. "It's not my fault that my ability to retain information and line up at multiple positions — I guess I'm learning what I need to do. ... I played my game, I played football. They lined me up in different positions because that's what they called and that's what I was told to do."
The nastiness began when Ramsey and Smith were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after an altercation following Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny's fourth-quarter interception of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Guard Ryan Jensen got in the middle of a postplay scuffle, Smith said, and there was pushing and shoving, some by Smith. "And all of a sudden — bang! — I got hit in the back," he recounted. It was Ramsey. "I got up, and he said, 'I'm not scared of you.' I said, 'OK, cool. I'll see you after the game. I'm not scared of you.' "
The game ended. The Ravens won. Smith found Ramsey on the field.
"I had a little chitchat with him. He didn't have anything to say. Get into the locker room, he's talking. I wanted to give him every opportunity if he had anything to say right there right now, and he didn't take the opportunity. So he doesn't respect me as a man — hey, that's cool. You're not the first or the last. And actually, I've actually hung out with a lot better, savvier and well-throned DBs than him. So I'll be OK. It'll work out for me."
"Well throned" isn't a word, not yet, but it should be. Maybe we'll hear it during Smith's coming broadcasting career. A possible sampling: "Jalen Ramsey is in his third year in the league, and he's still not the well-throned player the Jags expected of a No. 5 overall pick." Sounds good, right?