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Ravens coach John Harbaugh reflects on Torrey Smith's retirement from NFL

Ravens coach John Harbaugh reflects on Torrey Smith's retirement from NFL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Torrey Smith’s journey as a local star has run its course. 

The former eight-year pro announced his retirement from football on Friday in an open letter titled 'Dear Football' via The Uninterrupted.

Smith, a former Maryland Terrapin, was a second-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2011. In 2012, he was a Super Bowl champion. 

“Congratulations to Torrey,” coach John Harbaugh said. “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.”

Smith finished with 319 career receptions and 5,141 yards receiving. He had 41 total touchdowns. In his four years as a Raven, he never missed a game. 

He made stops in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Carolina after he left Baltimore, where he won a Super Bowl in 2018 with the Eagles. 

But the attribute that stands out to Harbaugh was Smith’s speed.

“The first thing I remember looking at him coming out of Maryland: He was a guy who could get down the field and then could track a ball down the field,” Harbaugh said. “How many times did he out-track a corner and either come up with the ball or get a pass interference call, just for huge plays? And then of course, the intangibles — just the personality, the leadership, the work ethic and all that.”

Smith is a native Virginian and attended Stafford High School. He elected to stay in the area and attend Maryland. There, he became one of the most coveted wide receiver prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft.

"From the very beginning, you were there for me," he said in his open letter. "You were a safe haven that helped me block out all that I was dealing with at home. I was just a young kid with big dreams. I didn't know at the time that you would help pave the way for me to accomplish all of my goals. For that, I am forever grateful."

Smith was a member of the First-Team ACC team in 2010. He finished his Maryland career with 2,215 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns. He added 2,983 receiving yards, along with three touchdowns, as well.

The speedster ran a 4.41 at the NFL Combine, which led to his selection at 58th overall. 

Smith ended his Ravens career with good memories throughout, and though his playing career is over, he’ll still be involved in the Baltimore community.”

“I’ve been through some moments with him on the roller coaster — you know, up and down,” Harbaugh continued. “I’m sure Torrey will go on to do many great things beyond his football career.”

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What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

The Ravens have a problem in the secondary; no one can stay healthy. 

Baltimore suffered season-ending injuries to Iman Marshall and Tavon Young at cornerback and Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott at safety. Cornerback Jimmy Smith hasn’t played since Week 1 with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and Maurice Canady currently has a hamstring injury, coach John Harbaugh said. 

So on Monday, the Ravens traded for cornerback Marcus Peters from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick. 

Peters, 26, is in his fifth year as a pro and is in the final year of his rookie deal that is paying him just over $9 million against the cap this season. 

A true ballhawk, Peters has an NFL-best 24 interceptions since he entered the league in 2015 as a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Peters was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was a Second Team All-Pro that season. He was a First Team All-Pro a year later. 

With a host of injuries at cornerback and in the secondary the Ravens will likely use Peters right away opposite Marlon Humphrey, who has been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks this season. Peters excels at turning the ball over, something safety Earl Thomas did in Seattle and a statistic in which the Ravens coaches have expressed a desire to improve.

The Ravens rank 13th in yards allowed per game, 30th in yards per play against and 25th in pass defense. Peters figures to help out in those departments.

Smith is expected to return sooner rather than later in the secondary, meaning the Ravens will have to find a way to get Humphrey, Peters, Smith and Brandon Carr on the field in a positive way.

And while Peters’ contract is up at the end of the season, the final 10 games could be a tryout to see how he fits into the team’s short-term and long-term plans. Should he impress, it’s not inconceivable the Ravens could re-sign him and make he, Humphrey and Young the team’s top three cornerbacks headed into the 2020 season.

If they don’t, they’ll be awarded a compensatory pick in 2021. As for what round, that will depend on how much Peters signs for. 

Either way, the move is an aggressive one to shore up a notable area of concern for the Ravens this season. It adds a cornerback who has had incredible success in his young career and adds a piece in the secondary to pair opposite Humphrey. 

The price wasn’t hefty, either. The Ravens moved on from Kenny Young, a linebacker who had fallen out of their plans, and a 2020 draft pick, one of many they possess next year. 

It’s a true low-risk, high-reward situation for a team that still thinks it can contend this season.

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6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

Marcus Peters is a Raven now. Baltimore made it official Tuesday when they sent linebacker Kenny Smith and a draft pick to the Rams for the two-time All-Pro.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Peters has plenty of career highlights. It's hard to narrow it down, but here are some of his best.

He's got a game-sealing pick-six on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. He was fined for his "celebration" as he entered the end zone, but at least he was having a good time.

His entrance into the end zone was not nearly as smooth on this pick-six. His path to the goal line was much more difficult and he had to leave the game after this big hit.

Back when he was still with the Kansas City Chiefs, he showed a knack for finding the ball, stripping it from Jamaal Charles, scooping it up and returning it for a touchdown to open the scoring on Monday Night Football against the Broncos.

He also spent a whole game mic'd up, which was genuinely entertaining.

Peters similarly just ripped the ball right out of Kelvin Benjamin's hands, though he didn't return this one for a touchdown.

Most importantly, he's got a competitive attitude.

The Ravens needed reinforcements in their secondary, and Peters and his highlight-reel plays are on the way to help.

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