Almost all of the Ravens veterans have gone home for the weekend for one final rest before organized team activities (OTAs) begin.
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. stuck around, however.
He watched more than half the rookie practice from the sideline. And after the Ravens rookies finished their first professional football day of field work, Head Coach John Harbaugh invited Smith to deliver the day's "wise words."
(Fans can see more behind-the-scenes action from Ravens rookie minicamp beginning Tuesday.)
Rookie fourth-round running back Javorius "Buck" Allen shared some of Smith's message:
"It's pretty much an audition. You're an intern," Allen said. "Come in, do what you've got to do, and when the end of the summer is over with, they're going to pick the guys they want. Getting drafted doesn't mean you made the 53-man roster."
Smith was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft. He still carries a chip on his shoulder from his rookie year when a draft analyst wrote Smith "isn't ready to contribute at receiver" and that the Panthers "spent a third-round pick on a punt returner."
Smith has doggedly worked to be one of the best receivers of his time.
Rookies used to arrive in Baltimore and instantly be in awe of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who would take the youngsters under their wing. With Lewis and Reed both gone – and now both retired – Smith may be the Ravens player closest to having that kind of effect and influence.
"He knows what he's talking about; he's been here for 15 years," Allen said. "It's always wise to take advice from a veteran."
Cornerback/receiver John Robertson of Virginia University of Lynchburg, who is not one of the team's 15 undrafted rookie free agent signings but could be at rookie camp on a tryout basis, certainly took notice of Smith: