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The Ravens' farewell video to Steve Smith Sr. will make you cry

The Ravens' farewell video to Steve Smith Sr. will make you cry

All across Baltimore, grown men and women were weeping at their desks Friday afternoon. Probably. Maybe. 

That's because the Ravens released a flawlessly produced, tear-jerker of a farewell video to retiring wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. 

Right off the bat, fellow receiver Mike Wallace (former Steeler) explained how Smith convinced him to sign with Baltimore. 

"Steve was the very first person to call me after my release in Minnesota. The very first person," Wallace said. "And he just told me he wanted me to come here. And I would be able to be myself. That was the biggest thing, honestly, that drew he here.

"He was like, 'You know you can go to this place, that place, but would they let you be yourself? If you become a Baltimore Raven, you'll be able to play like Mike wants to play.' Coming from him, that just drove it home."

John Harbaugh took a moment to share how much the 37-year-old veteran has meant to him on a daily basis. 

"I love him. I guess that's the best thing I can say. I love him as a person. I love him as a football player certainly. Love being around him every single day. I can't wait to see him and talk to him," Harbaugh said.

"He's a guy that's been through things in his life that have shaped him and formed him in a way that's very genuine. What you see from Steve Smith is going to be real. There's no fake in Steve Smith."

Linebacker C.J. Mosley grew up watching Smith, so sharing a locker room with him has felt like a lifetime accomplishment. 

"It was cool to actually have him as a teammate. Growing up watching him play in the Super Bowl, watching all his highlights, him talking trash. So actually being his teammate and being his friend is a pretty humbling experience," Mosley said. "I'm glad I can say when I get older that I played with Steve Smith, I'm friends with Steve Smith." 

The man himself also spoke extensively, at times with watery eyes. Despite playing his first 13 seasons with the Panthers, he spoke about his years with the Ravens as a dream come true. 

"I don't want to say a dream come true in a way that it puts a negative light on my past, but just, there's things as you get older that you think about and that you value," Smith said. "And the Baltimore Ravens gave me that opportunity. And they also valued me."

But to Smith, it was the way the Ravens showed they valued him that mattered most, especially given his previous experiences. 

"It isn't like they dealt with me, they embraced me. They opened their homes up to me. They invited me to dinner. They introduced me to their wives, to their kids. And vice versa. That means a lot," Smith said.

"You could pay somebody a lot of money. But when you show them and introduce them to your most treasured possessions, your family, that's when you know."

And though all good things come to an end, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's still tough though, Smith explained.  

"It's been hard the last week to pack up my place. You know and I said pack up my career in boxes, meaning a game ball goes in a box," he said. "There's not going to be anymore game balls."

Well, there's still one more game ball to take home: the Ravens play the Bengals Sunday in Cincinnati. That one belongs to Mr. Smith. 

Watch the full interview here:

MORE RAVENS: Rivera thinks Steve Smith should retire with Panthers

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What type of running backs are the Ravens looking for in this year's draft? GM Eric DeCosta explains

What type of running backs are the Ravens looking for in this year's draft? GM Eric DeCosta explains

The Ravens’ draft needs mostly stay within the front line on either side of the ball. 

They could use more defensive line and edge-rusher help, as well as more depth and a starter at inside linebacker. The interior offensive line could use depth, as could the tackle position. 

Aside from wide receiver, the Ravens’ needs aren’t all that flashy. 

But when the Ravens are on the clock with the 28th selection, should they stick to their best player available mantra, that could mean a running back comes off the board.

“You have to be big and strong and physical, but you also have to be durable,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “That's a really important criteria for that position, and also be intelligent. We feel like we have a really good group of running backs on our team, and it'll just basically be who's available when we pick.” 

The Ravens set the NFL’s single-season rushing record last season due in large part to Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram, but also backup running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. 

At a position that is loaded, and also the heartbeat of the Ravens’ offense, there doesn’t appear to be any clear openings. 

“We set the record for rushing last year, so it's going to be hard for us this year,” DeCosta said. “So, we have to find as many good players as we can. I think that position is critically important to our offense.”

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That hasn’t stopped a few mock drafts from around the league projecting the Ravens might go with a running back in the early rounds. Should they do that, a few names to watch are D’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers and J.K. Dobbins. All figure to be a few of the top running backs off the board. 

Even if the Ravens don’t pick a running back early in the draft, there’s still the possibility of selecting a back late with one of the Ravens’ nine draft choices. 

Should that happen, there will be a competition for the top three spots on the depth chart at running back for Baltimore.

“There are certainly running backs all throughout the draft in each round – first round all the way through the seventh round – guys that we think have the opportunity to come in and help us be the best team we can be, and we'll look at that,” DeCosta said.

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John Harbaugh concerned about potential hackers during virtual draft

John Harbaugh concerned about potential hackers during virtual draft

John Harbaugh is confident in the Ravens’ ability, as an organization, to manage the quarantine and go through as normal of an off-season as possible. 

His confidence in the off-season technology they’ll be using, however, is not as high. 

With members of the Ravens’ front office confined to their homes from now until the NFL Draft on April 23, they’ve had to adjust accordingly with virtual meetings and scouting sessions. 

Harbaugh has been assured by the IT department that they’ll be safe from any problems.

“My level of involvement has been every time I read something in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is or some of these other deals that came out this morning, I immediately text it to our IT people,” Harbaugh said. 

The Ravens have been using the popular video conferencing site Zoom for their pre-draft meetings. 

“I’ve got some real concerns about that, and hopefully we’ll be okay,” Harbaugh said. “It’s kind of like that. We’ll see what happens. I really wouldn’t want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that.” 

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General manager Eric DeCosta, though, is a bit more confident than the head coach is.

“I have more confidence in Zoom than I do in Ozzie (Newsome), John, (owner Steve (Bisciotti) and team president Dick (Cass), with a copy of our draft board that they just leave in the car on their front seat or something like that,” DeCosta joked.

While the Ravens are focused on a virtual world as it relates to the NFL Draft, off-season workouts aren’t far behind. 

From there, the Ravens are waiting for word from the NFL on what their program over the summer could look like. That includes contingencies for both in-person and at-home workouts.

“I think it's up in the air just like it is with everything else with this situation,” Harbaugh said. “We've been told possibilities. We're kind of preparing for all that. The new CBA changes up some of the rules as far as what you're allowed to send them in their playbooks, some of the video teaching overlays, talk-overs and things like that.”

Harbaugh ensured they’ll be ready for any situation, but just like the rest of the NFL, and the country, the Ravens are playing a waiting game for what’s next.

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