Steve Smith was scheduled to come to the Fort Belvoir military base in Fairfax County, Virginia, before he was signed by the Ravens.
The fact that he came to Baltimore, and was able to jump headfirst into its extended community less than a month later was just a beautiful coincidence.
The veteran wide receiver was well known for his community outreach in North Carolina when he was with the Panthers. But he won't stop spreading cheer just because he's uprooted.
Smith delighted and ran with about 100 children of those living and working on the Fort Belvoir base. He signed every kid's shirt, posed with them for pictures, and played football with them just like he was a big kid.
"I think when you're serving your community, it doesn't matter where that community is," Smith said. "If you're truly about it, you're going to migrate to wherever that community is. This is my community, so I'm going to serve my community when I have the opportunity."
Smith partnered with Proctor and Gamble and ProCamp to put on the event. He began working with military families last year in Cherry Point, N.C., and was even considering a trip to Germany to continue his work. Instead, with a child on the way, he will do camps in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.
Smith*was joined by former Panthers teammate and now Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell and Redskins wide receiver Andre Roberts. Smith *told the kids and their parents that he only has one rule at his camps: have fun.
"It's not about money. It's not about any of that stuff," Smith said. "It's just allowing kids to be kids, so it's fantastic. It's just a good-ole fashioned time. Throw on cleats and have a good time."
With cleats on himself, Smith ran through drills with the kids, offering words of encouragement. He also stopped to talk to some parents and thank them for their service.
"So often nowadays, there are so many issues and things going on, that sometimes the very thing that we miss is a thank you," Smith said.
Smith and his wife, Angie, established the Steve Smith Family Foundation in 2013. It is dedicated to providing hope and inspiration to those in need, advancing causes that are close to the heart of the founder's family.
He is hosting the "Lace Up Son" 5K in Matthews, N.C., on May 26. Just because he's going to start doing charity work around the great Delmarva area doesn't mean he won't be in North Carolina.
"It doesn't matter where I'm playing, I'm always going to serve," Smith said. "That place now happens to be in Baltimore, so I'm excited about that."