Former Ravens and Maryland football standout Torrey Smith, one of the top wide receivers in the history of both teams, announced his retirement from football in a social media post Friday morning.
Smith, 30, played eight NFL seasons with the Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers, winning two Super Bowls. He spent his first four years in Baltimore after the Ravens selected the speedy Terps star in the second round of the 2011 draft.
In a Twitter video posted by Uninterrupted, a digital-media company co-founded by LeBron James, Smith thanked the game of football for the opportunities it provided and said he plans to return to the city of Baltimore, where his “heart is and never left.”
“Dear football, I knew this day would come," Smith said in the three-plus-minute video. “To be completely honest, I’ve been preparing for it my entire career. You and I both knew the game for me wouldn’t last forever. It’s the NFL cycle of life, and I’m prepared for what’s next.
“But remember, football’s what I did. It’s not who I am. I’m looking forward to using the platform you’ve given me to continue to serve my true purpose: changing my community for the better. ... Can’t wait to begin my next phase of my life where my heart is and never left: Baltimore.”
Smith enjoyed his greatest professional success with the Ravens. His second season in Baltimore was his most memorable. The morning before a Week 3 prime-time matchup against the New England Patriots, Smith’s younger brother Tevin Jones died in a motorcycle accident. Smith decided to honor Jones by playing, and caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-30 win. Later, as the Ravens made their run to Super Bowl XLVII, he caught two touchdown passes in the dramatic, 38-35 double-overtime playoff win over the Denver Broncos.
Smith finished with at least 49 catches and 767 receiving yards in each of his four seasons with the Ravens, including a career-high 65 for 1,128 yards in 2013. He ranks sixth in franchise history in receptions (213), third in receiving yards (3,591), first in yards per catch (16.9) and second in touchdown catches (30). He entered this season third in the NFL among active receivers in yards per catch (16.1), behind only Josh Gordon and DeSean Jackson
“It’s an awesome thing,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after practice Friday, which Smith attended. "He’s had a tremendous career. He’s a Maryland guy and … it’s just an honor to know him and to have coached him and know his family. I’ve been through some moments with him on the roller coaster — you know, up and down. So, congrats to him and his family. I’m sure Torrey will go on to do many great things beyond his football career.”
Smith’s production dipped after he signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the 49ers following the 2014 season. After two disappointing seasons in San Francisco, he moved on to Philadelphia, winning a Super Bowl in 2017, before being traded to the Panthers last year. Smith agreed to take a $2 million pay cut in May, but Carolina released him before this season.
“Every catch, every drop, every win, every loss, every trade, every cut — all of it — was a part of my journey,” Smith said in the video.
A high school quarterback from Colonial Beach, Virginia, Smith emerged as a wide receiver at Maryland in 2009, when he had 824 receiving yards. The next season, as a redshirt junior, he had 67 catches for 1,055 yards — just the second Terps receiver ever to hit 1,000 yards in a single season — and surpassed LaMont Jordan’s record for career all-purpose yardage. After Smith decided to forgo his senior season to turn pro, the Ravens selected him with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
The Ravens honored Smith on Twitter after the announcement, calling him an “advocate for Baltimore always.” Even after Smith left the team, his philanthropic work in the city continued. The Torrey Smith Family Fund, which he and his wife, Chanel, established, has provided food, scholarship funds and after-school opportunities for local families and children. He’s also donated to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.
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“[Baltimore] has a lot of potential,” Smith told The Baltimore Sun last year. “There are great young leaders that need an opportunity and resources, and that’s why I think it’s important for them to have everything that they need.”