Based on the scene inside Baltimore's Royal Farms* *Arena Saturday afternoon, it seemed like wide receiver Torrey Smith never left the Ravens.
The former Raven and current San Francisco 49er returned to Baltimore this weekend to host his charity basketball game, and he had a strong showing of support from his old teammates.
"It's important to be here because it's Torrey," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "He's an awesome guy. What he did for this community, and what he continues to do, he comes back here a ton – I love Torrey to death, so I'll be here all the time."
Flacco, Lardarius Webb, Justin Forsett, Sam Koch, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler and Terrance West all attended the game. Other former Ravens like Anquan Boldin, Jameel McClain and Donte Stallworth, and local athletes like Orioles center fielder Adam Jones were also in attendance.
Most of the Ravens didn't actually play – Koch, Butler and West were the only ones to suit up – but they still wanted to be there.
"They're taking the time out to try to be here and I think it says a lot about them, more than anything else," Smith said. "One thing that I took a lot of pride in and I said it when I left, is that I didn't want to be a guy that was committed to the city when he was there, but then forget about it when you leave. Baltimore is home for us now and still to have a fun event like this, and also raise money for our foundation that gives back to kids in the city, it's a blessing."
Smith, a second-round pick by the Ravens in 2011, made the charity basketball game an annual event during his four years in Baltimore. The event has grown significantly from the first two years of having it at his high school in Stafford, Virginia. He then moved the game to his alma mater, University of Maryland, and this year was the first time it was actually in Baltimore.
"I was like, man everything we're doing is really based in Baltimore, so why not do it there?" Smith said. "The support from the fans has been amazing, and we get to see a lot of faces that we're helping with the foundation in the stands. It's important to see that and it's special as well."
Smith was a fan favorite during his time with the Ravens, and the year away did not diminish that love affair for the fans in attendance Saturday. Plenty of people still donned their No. 82 Ravens jerseys, and his former teammates marveled at the reception from the Baltimore crowd.
"It's crazy to see just the impact that he had on this city," Forsett said. "The people love him, the city loves him, and he has a heart for the city still. It's pretty remarkable."