This blog was written by Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, and was originally posted on SportsBlog.
Reflecting back on this season, I don't even know where to start. As a team we didn't reach our ultimate goal, to win the Super Bowl. I always say there is only one winner and 31 losers. As for me, I didn't play the way I wanted to on a consistent basis. It wasn't even close to perfect or even what I had planned. Coming into the season I was expecting to win the Super Bowl and earn Pro Bowl honors. I was one of the many alternates last year, but I knew that I had more to do that I WOULD do. Didn't happen that way. Believe it or not, I wouldn't change a single thing that happened to me.
Why? It was the biggest year of growth in my life so far. I grew in a lot of areas as a football player, man, and in my faith. The kind of growth I'm talking about was a different type of adversity. I had never really been in a position where I really wasn't playing at a consistently high level. Since I was little I was always successful on the court or field. During the first part of the year, that wasn't the case. It was definitely very challenging. I didn't panic or do anything special to try and fix it because I know what kind of player I am and how hard I work. I knew everything would eventually get better in time … and it did.
Off the field, I was dealing with a bunch of things that were challenging to handle. Very challenging to handle. Combining that with what was going on the field I was battling every day. I was able to turn it around and get back to what was important and get back to having fun. It wasn't anything that I did magically. It was more so the support of my teammates, my brothers in that locker room.
Playing with the Baltimore Ravens, obviously it's a winning organization. It's one of the top organizations in the league and a place that a lot of people want to play. But in that locker room, there's a brotherhood, a family bond. We've always known that we are able to get through adversity together, but I think that people on the outside really had the opportunity to see that this year. We help each other get through so many different things. I think sometimes people view you as an item when you play ball. Like you are invincible and have this little perfect life with a lot of money. That is far from the truth. Folks are normal people who have normal problems. You just happen to watch their profession and know their salary. Being in that locker room you have a group of men to support you and can relate to you. There's always someone in there that has been through what you're going through and is willing to be there to support you. A real family. Bobby Engram, Craig Ver Steeg, Steve Smith, they were instrumental in that for me. Just being there more so than anything. Our transparent conversations and wisdom they passed down to me was truly a blessing. Didn't even realize how powerful it was to be amongst other married men who are a little farther along in their walk with Christ than I am.
I've also grown in my faith a lot. That's been the most rewarding part of the year. With the support of people like our team chaplain Johnny Shelton, Bobby, Craig, Steve, Elvis Dumervil and Justin Forsett, my faith has grown exponentially. They've been a major part of that for me.
Now that the season is over it's time to rest up and refocus. I'll be enjoying my family time and will get back on the grind shortly. This offseason will be a little different being a free agent, but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to school to get my masters at The U so that will be challenging. Not to mention T.J. will be walking this offseason. (He already goes wherever he wants.)
I definitely want to thank the fans for their support this season. Even the couch quarterbacks and GM's. Not only for myself, but also for my family. It doesn't go unnoticed. I look forward to seeing everyone around. The business side will take care of itself, but Baltimore will always be home for me. I will always play my role in helping Baltimore become a better city and help guide our youth. Love y'all!