|Torrey Smith points to the sky after a 25-yard touchdown in remembrance of his brother, Tevin Chris Jones, who died in a motorcycle accident one day before Baltimore's 31-30 win over New England. (Getty Images)|
Torrey Smith is always smiling.
Whether it's a win or a loss, a good practice or not, you can usually find a bright smile on the second-year Ravens receiver's face. His smile can hide the physical pain that football brings, such as battling through a sports hernia injury through the majority of the 2011 season.
But no task was tougher than the one he faced Sunday night, deciding to play a football game not even a day after finding out his little brother, Tevin Chris Jones, was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 19. Nothing can prepare someone for something like that.
When he stepped to the post-game podium to talk with the media about his performance -- six catches, 127 yards and two touchdowns -- following Baltimore's 31-30 win over New England, there wasn't a smile on his face. His happy demeanor was notedly diminished, his expression solemn.
For someone feeling that kind of pain earlier in the afternoon, it was an amazing feat for Smith to clear his head and give his team the lift it needed to win Sunday night's football game.
“You can't have anything weighing on you, to tense up, that's going to cause you to drop the ball or have mistakes,” Smith said. “I didn't want to hurt my team. I came here, the more I was running, the more comfortable I started to feel. I'm glad I came back up here. I think it helped me out a lot.”
Smith had a teammate in his corner, someone who could relate to what he was going through emotionally on Sunday. Ed Reed lost his brother, Brian Reed, in January 2011, after Brian Reed jumped into the Mississippi River in an attempt to evade police in St. Charles, La.
Just a couple of days after Brian Reed's body disappeared, Ed Reed and the Ravens were set to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round of the 2010 playoffs. Reed played in Baltimore's win over Kansas City and received the team's game ball afterward.
“When I went through losing my brother, being around these guys really helped me to get through,” Reed said. “It's tough when you're around family because everyone feels the same way, everyone's mourning, trying to figure out what happened. To be away from that, is to say, it helps you get through it.”
Reed offered Smith a Biblical psalm to help Smith go through with playing against New England. For a lot of football players, the game is an extension of religion, as players gather together and pray after beating and pummeling each other extensively.
Smith is no different. After his first touchdown, a 25-yard jump ball catch, Smith kneeled down, pointed to the sky and prayed.
“God is in control,” Reed said. “God has a plan bigger than ours. We don't know our time and day, none of us. We all experience the same things. I just told him we're here for him, I'm here for him.”
Smith decided he would play after arriving to M&T Bank Stadium at around 4 p.m. on Sunday. He sent a text message to his mom letting her know.
She felt it was the right decision for him.
“She was excited about it,” Smith said. “She was like, ‘Of course, he'd want you to play.' He'd admired me so much, which is what makes it so much, and it's just a tough situation altogether. I'm just glad I was here with my family. We got this win and look forward to going on to the next one Thursday.”
Smith did crack one slight smile, though, when speaking about what he'd been through in a span of 24 hours. He was asked what made his brother special. Collecting his thoughts, he remembered his brother's smile, one that seemingly runs through his family.
“He's honest, he had a great heart,” Smith said. “A lot of people say that all the time when people pass, but he truly was that person. When you see him mad, you'd always laugh because it didn't look right. So, to be around him, his big smile and his laugh -- which was probably one of the most annoying laughs ever -- I'm definitely going to miss him. He laughed so hard at everything, and you know, he'd do anything for you. It's a tough loss for us.”
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.