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Late For Work 10/15: Class Act -- Why Torrey Smith Bought Loads Of Bengals Jerseys


Class Act – Why Torrey Bought Loads Of Bengals Jerseys

Get ready for a tearjerker to start your morning.

Torrey Smith is being lauded as a "class act" all over social media for buying a load of AFC North rival jerseys. And not just any rival. It's the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals, who knocked Baltimore out of the playoffs last year and are stubbornly holding onto first place.

But sometimes life supersedes football.

So why did Smith make the purchase? And even better – what's he going to do with all of them?

Guess I'll give them to some fans up north in a couple of weeks @Dev_Still71 #leahstrong — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) October 14, 2014

The No. 75 orange and black jersey belongs to defensive tackle Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter, Leah, is battling cancer. She was diagnosed just four months ago with stage 4 neuroblastoma and doctors gave her a 50-50 chance of survival.

To support Still and his family, the Bengals organization put him on the practice squad so he could have more time to support Leah and still be eligible for the NFL health insurance plan to cover her treatments. He has since been moved up to the active roster. Additionally, they decided to donate all the profits from No. 75 jersey sales to pediatric cancer research.

So, that explains Smith's purchase.


And it didn't go unnoticed by Still.

"Appreciate the support," Still tweeted to Smith.

According to "The Today Show," jersey sales have raised more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research.

"When we first decided to make my daughter's story public, we had a vision," Still told NBC Sports' Josh Elliott in the video below. "We wanted to bring as much awareness to pediatric cancer as possible."

Just a few weeks ago, an Instagram video of Still and his daughter went viral ahead of her surgery on Sept. 25. In it, Still gave Leah a pep talk about getting cancer out of her.

Through the nearly six-hour surgery, doctors successfully removed her tumor. However, she must continue months of treatment before she can be declared cancer free.

"She's way stronger than I ever have been," Still said. "For her to be able to continue to smile through all this, and continue to still have that same personality, it's amazing. And it's definitely inspiring to me."

Take a few minutes to watch Leah's story in the NBC Sports video below (mobile users tap "View in browser" at the top of the page to watch).

Week 7 Power Rankings

What is the Ravens' reward for drubbing the Bucs 48-17 last weekend?

Diddly squat … in terms of power rankings.

In four of the power rankings below, the Ravens didn't move at all. In two others, they moved up one spot.

Jamison Hensley explains why ESPN didn't bump up Baltimore's standing.

"It really doesn't have much to do with voters being unimpressed with the Ravens' 48-17 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," he wrote. "The Ravens would have likely stayed at this spot in the rankings with any win. The problem is only two teams ahead of them in the rankings lost in Week 6, and the Ravens weren't going to leapfrog the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks or the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat the Ravens in the season opener."

The Bengals actually tied, but his point is legit. Here are the rankings:

ESPN: No. 12 (no movement)
"Baltimore's 48 points Sunday were the most in a road game in franchise history. Joe Flacco's 99.7 Total QBR was the second best in Stats & Info's data set (since 2006).", Vinnie Iyer: No. 11 (no movement)
"Joe Flacco is quietly enjoying his best regular season and not just because he's coming off a five-touchdown game. The key for him is consistent efficiency over the long haul, the kind we saw in his Super Bowl MVP season."

Fox Sports, Dan Schneier: No. 10 (moved up one spot)
"With all of the time in the world thanks to the impressive play of his* *[offensive] line, Joe Flacco was able to pick apart a reeling Buccaneers pass defense. It's no surprise that the Ravens' impressive pass rush was in full force again, but Justin Forsett's emergence as an effective lead back has shocked many.", Mike Florio: No. 10 (no movement)
"So much for the Florida heat.", Pete Prisco: No. 12 (moved up one spot)
"Joe Flacco lit up the Bucs and now the Ravens are back on track. The pass rush is really starting to emerge.", Elliot Harrison: No. 10 (no movement)
"Joe Flacco doesn't even throw for five touchdown passes in Madden! If ever a Baltimore quarterback looked like Johnny Unitas, it was Flacco on Sunday. Go figure. Geez Louise, what a showing from the Ravens' offense, including the unit's most unheralded guy. Justin Forsett carried the football 14 times for 111 yards, with his 52-yarder setting up Flacco's first scoring toss of the day. In fact, that rumble really set the tone for the game. Now I don't feel so bad for keeping Baltimore high in the rankings. Missed the game pick, though. Drat."

The Baltimore Sun, Jon Meoli: No. 10 (Not ranked in top 10)
"After a brief absence, the Ravens rejoin the rankings over strong teams like Green Bay and Cincinnati, the former who is on the rise and the latter in freefall. The Ravens' pass defense got a boost with Lardarius Webb and the offense has potential to blow teams out. What more can you want?", Peter King: No. 11 (moved up three spots)
"Tough to pick the AFC North, but I'd like to flip a three-sided coin please."

Jimmy: Getting INT Feels Like Getting $100 Bill

Cornerback Jimmy Smith snapped a Ravens drought, becoming the first defensive back to notch an interception this season when he picked off Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon Sunday.

Smith had a clever analogy about how it feels as an NFL cornerback to nab a pick.

"You ask any corner in the league how great it is to get a pick," Smith said, per Hensley. "It's like somebody walking around and then they give you a $100 bill."

Oh, that IS a great feeling.

So if he got his first Pro Bowl bid, would that feel like getting a $100,000 bill (yes, those do exist, featuring Woodrow Wilson)? Because Hensley believes Smith is worthy of such an honor.

"Smith] has [played like a Pro Bowl cornerback, slowing down some of the NFL's top receivers," he wrote.  "He is currently rated as the seventh-best corner in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, allowing 18 receptions for 135 yards.  That shows most teams are avoiding throwing at Smith. And, when they do, teams aren't getting much out of it."

Forsett Having Himself A Good Week
Things continue to look up for running back Justin Forsett.

Just as everyone predicted (sarcasm), Forsett finds himself in the top 5 of NFL rushing leaders after his first 100-yard performance this season, as shown in the ESPN Stats and Info graphic below. And he's doing it while splitting carries with Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro.


Then, on the same day that he cut into his cake on this 29th birthday yesterday, he discovered the gender of his expected child.

His birthday cake filling was colored blue, signifying he has a little Justin on the way.

"Just cut my Birthday Cake & found out the sex of our new baby at the same time!" Forsett wrote on Instagram. "Looks like Judah will have a baby brother soon. #BlueForABoy #ProudPops #CantWaitForBoysNightOut"


Quick Hits

  • The Russell Street Report blog took a poll to see which Ravens beat reporter fans like best. The results:

Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun (68%) 
Jamison Hensley, ESPN (30%)
Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun (11%)
Jerry Coleman, 105.7 The Fan (10%)
Cliff Brown, CSN Baltimore (8%)
Luke Jones, WNST (8%)
Joe Platania, Press Box (2%)

Time flies! Proud of my lil bro @dex_25 ! Big moved since Stafford High — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) October 14, 2014

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