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Baltimore Ravens

Shareece Wright chose Ravens for chance to play with best friend Jimmy Smith

With several new faces in the mix at cornerback this week for the Ravens, free agent Shareece Wright came to Baltimore because of one he's quite familiar with.

Wright grew up playing with cornerback Jimmy Smith at Colton (Calif.) High, works out with Smith in the offseason, and signed with the Ravens late Monday after his release last week from the San Francisco 49ers at Smith's urging.

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"I'm 100 percent sure he came here because of me," Smith said.

"They told me they were trying to pick him up, and to give him a call, because he was leaning towards going to the [Seattle] Seahawks. … I called and was like, 'How rare is this that you get to play ball, starting corner with your best friend in the league and in high school?' It's a unique privilege, and a unique feeling to have someone you've known for that long."

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It's also unique circumstances that land the two in the Ravens secondary together, and as Smith said, could possibly lead to them starting together in San Francisco on Sunday.

Wright was inactive for the first four games of 2015 for the 49ers after signing as a free agent from San Diego during the offseason. He had one interception and 20 passes defensed in four seasons with the Chargers, but asked for and was granted his release after it became clear he didn't have a role in coach Jim Tomsula's defense.

Wright said he felt like "they just wanted to go a different direction" and play younger players the 49ers had drafted instead of keeping them behind an outside free agent on a one-year contract. Tomsula said Wright was simply a victim of their roster numbers.

There was a spot for him in Baltimore's secondary because of a pair of injuries suffered away from the ball on the same second-quarter play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Cornerback Will Davis tore his ACL and went on season-ending injured reserve, while cornerback Lardarius Webb suffered a thigh injury.

Cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Charles James were added from the practice squad, but Wright believes there's an opportunity for him to play quickly.

"We were trying to get a trade done with [general manager/assistant vice president Ozzie Newsome], and we weren't able to get that done," Wright said. "I was finally released and things happened and it was a great opportunity to come here and get on this defense and play real soon. That's all I want to do is get on the field. I've seen the opportunity, and we made it happen."

In addition to the interest from Seattle, there was reported interest from the Indianapolis Colts as well.

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The opportunity to play with Smith "played a big role" in him choosing Baltimore, but not the only one.

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"We always talked about if we had the opportunity to play on the same team, and be playing corner on the same team one day like we did in high school, it'd be a blessing," Wright said.

"To be able to play on the same team, the opportunity, the situation with guys going down and me being able to play — that's all I wanted to do."

Smith said he was a basketball player primarily as a freshman when he met Wright, who along with Atlanta Falcons linebacker Allen Bradford were "the football gods" in Colton.

"They taught me a lot, always stayed in contact," Smith said. "It's just kind of crazy that he's here."

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JonMeoli


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