CB JIMMY SMITH & WR TORREY SMITH PRESS CONFERENCE
Ravens executive vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome's opening statement:
"Thank you and welcome. Each year, we talk about how this is a nine- or 10-month process that we go through. I think these two young men are examples of the process. When we were in training camp last year, and we had the Maryland-Navy game, we had their coaches come out to practice. Two days before, we got a call that [former Maryland] coach Ralph [Friedgen] wanted to bring a couple of players to training camp to get them to experience what it was like watching NFL players and what the environment was like. He gave me that call. Unfortunately, I had to call him back and say that because they were underclassmen, they were not allowed to attend our practice. But on the practice field, he and I talked about it and why he wanted to do it. He told me, 'I have a young man down at the University of Maryland named Torrey Smith who I would have wanted to come up and get a chance to see [training camp].' I guess they had just come through spring ball, and he had an inclination that Torrey was going to have to make a decision, so he wanted to start to paint a picture for him. That was the first time that Torrey Smith's name came to my attention. On the other hand, normally about October is when Eric [DeCosta] starts to give me names of guys that I need to start to watch in preparation for the draft. In October, normally most colleges have played three or four games, and our scouts have enough information to put grades on them. The first two players that Eric gave me were Von Miller and Jimmy Smith. As I was watching Jimmy Smith – and John [Harbaugh] relayed this story to me yesterday – that I was watching him, and it was hard to be able to watch a corner play like the guys that play on Sunday. So, I got up and went across the hall and told John to come in. I said, 'John, take a look at these three plays.' John's response to me: 'We'll never get him.'" (laughter)
(John Harbaugh says, "There seems to be a pattern here.")
"That's how the process works. It's nine or 10 months. You never know [when] you get the opportunity to gain some information about a player and get the opportunity to start to watch a player very early on. John was in the midst of preparing for a game, and it was worth him seeing those three plays on Jimmy Smith. That's what the process is all about, and it ends on a day like today where we have these two young men that are joining our organization, and with Torrey's family [here]. We are a better organization today. We are a better football team today because of these two young men. Coach [Harbaugh]?"
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:
"Yeah, it's a long process. I want to compliment the scouts and everybody involved, [including] the coaches. I think our coaches are all sitting back there. They're doing a great job. We've still got work to do today, as we all know. There are, what, I think three more rounds? Four more rounds to go. There will be some more good players added because we're trying to build a team. These two guys are going to be integral in what we're trying to do as a football team. That's what we're about here – building a football team. They're not just the type of players we like, but they are the type of players that fit us; the type of guys that we need. They play the way we want to play, but they're also – in my very strong feeling – the type of guys that fit our personality, too. They're good people, they have good hearts, they play hard, they work hard, they come from good families, and we're just thrilled to have these two guys with us."
What were your impressions of the organization when you visited the team facility before the draft?
*(J. SMITH) *"The first things I [saw] were the facilities, and I thought those were outstanding. Then, I got to meet the coaching staff, and they were really down to earth and really understood where I was coming from. I really understood that they're players' coaches. Talking to Ozzie and coach Harbaugh, they just really understood me, and I felt like they believed in me. So, I got a really good feel from them. Then, [I met with] coach [Chuck] Pagano, coach [Teryl] Austin a couple times, and I got a really good feeling with them. I felt like they can really teach me some things to help me improve my game."
How confident are you matching up against big WRs?
*(J. SMITH) *"I'm very confident. I love going against the bigger guys. Bigger guy, smaller guy, it really doesn't matter. Technique is technique, so that's what's going to carry you. Size makes no difference to me."
What is your take on the term "shut-down corner?"
(J. SMITH) "I think a shut-down corner is the all-around corner – one that's going to support in the run game; one that's going to lock down inside the field. People might catch a ball on you, but not more than one a game. I think an all-around corner does everything he needs to do to shut his side of the field down."
What does the term "break-away wide receiver" mean?
*(T. SMITH) *"Someone that can change the game at any moment, whether it's a screen pass or taking the top off the defense."
Torrey, you've worked with WR Donte' Stallworth before. What has he told you about the Ravens' organization?
*(T. SMITH) *"He's told me nothing but great things. I even talked to him last night after I got picked. He was like, 'You're going to love the organization and love the coaches. You're lucky to learn from guys like Anquan [Boldin] and [Derrick] Mason.' He just said nothing but good things. He said it was a perfect place for me."
Jimmy, your high school coach said you were raised in a tough neighborhood. Talk about what it was like growing up.
(J. SMITH) *"Actually, I grew up in a place called Colton, [Calif.]. It's in San Bernardino [County],* **a little town that is like 80 percent Hispanic. There are a lot of Hispanic gangs around; a lot of gangs in general. As far as trouble-wise, I just tried to stay away from it. The neighborhoods are rough. I have friends that, [just] last week, got murdered. It's a rough neighborhood."
Was it tough to get out of the neighborhood?
*(J. SMITH) *"Not many people come out of San Bernardino in general, so I'm truly blessed to make it out."
What were some of the things that helped you get out?
*(J. SMITH) *"I have a really strong, supporting cast. My brother, he's the one that raised me, so he kept me in line. My coaches in high school always kept me in line, so they're the ones that pretty much helped me make it out."
Ozzie, when you first got on the stage with Jimmy, there was an exchange. Can you repeat that?
(NEWSOME) *"First, [Jimmy] said, 'I'm taller than you.' And I said, 'No, I'm 6'3" and you're 6'2".' And now [Jimmy is] saying [6'2"] and a half. OK. *(laughter) *I wanted to go on record with him that he's a pretty good corner, but he couldn't cover me." *(laughter)
Torrey, how did your family's struggles growing up help you become a better football player?
*(T. SMITH) *"I felt like it helped me a lot. I had to mature a lot faster than a lot of guys. I've been faced with adversity all my life, and [I'll deal with] the same thing on the field. There are going to be times in the game during the season and during your career where you're going to be faced with adversity, and I know which way to go. I'm going to try to do my best to stay on top of things and make sure I'm leading the team the right way."
Can you talk about being from the Baltimore area and getting drafted by the Ravens?
*(T. SMITH) *"I'm happy to be here. This is where I wanted to be. Even after I declared [for the Draft], I was [thinking] that Baltimore would be the perfect fit for me. Obviously, Coach Friedgen told me a lot of things about the organization. There are a lot of Terps on the team, so I'll see them all the time and talk to them and ask them about it. It's the place I wanted to be, and I'm just happy to be here."
Jimmy, did you get bored playing football last year because quarterbacks would not throw the ball toward you? On average, how many times would the ball get thrown your way?
*(J. SMITH) *"Probably like one and a half times. *(laughter) *But, I don't really get bored because I just felt like at any moment they're going to try to hit me on a play. I just always try to stay focused on that."
Does it get tough not seeing a lot of action?
*(J. SMITH) *"Sometimes it does get tough because they just don't look at you. You're just making tackles, so I just felt like a linebacker playing corner sometimes."
Does the CBA situation affect how you feel personally about being drafted?
*(J. SMITH) *"Me, personally? No. We can't control it. We're happy to get drafted. We're both sitting here in a great place. From here on, the lockout is just going to happen – it's already happening. So from here, it's just, we're going to work out and train as hard as possible and get ready to hit the ground running when we get to camp."
What can and can't you do in terms of communicating with the drafted players?
*(NEWSOME) *"The rules, as of about 10:00 last night, are we're officially back into a lockout. We have an administrative stay. Once we're done with this press conference, then these young men have to return back to their homes or college campuses. The extent of what they can do is only marketing and media opportunities."
Do you think the shortened preparation time with the team will affect your chances of making an immediate impact?
*(T. SMITH) *"I think it'll have maybe a little effect. But at the end of the day, you're going to have to prepare the best you can in order to make sure that when you do come – you get the call that you've got to report – you're ready. Luckily for me, I get the opportunity to connect with a bunch of these guys. Like I said, it's a 30- or 40-minute drive for me to get here, so I plan on getting in touch with those other guys – the vets – and see what's going on."
What assurances did you give these guys that past troubles won't be current troubles?
*(J.SMITH) *"Most of the mistakes I made, or the bad decisions I made were when I was 18, 19 years old, so they were more like a maturity thing. I can tell them everything in the world, but if I didn't have my coaching staff backing me or people that they talked to that I don't even know they talked to, if those people said bad things then I wouldn't be here right now. So it wasn't like me just saying how it's all done, it was more like me just showing how mature I've been and putting everything out there and letting them know who I am and then them doing their research – they did a great job with it, talking with coaches and people around places in Colorado."
What would you like people to know about you that they maybe don't know because of what they've read in the newspaper?
*(J. SMITH) *"I want people to know that I don't have any character issues and that I made some bad decisions when I was a young kid, just like most Americans, but I don't want them to think that I'm going to come in here and try and make the organization look bad. These gentlemen put their necks on the line for me, so I want to make sure I do whatever I can to make sure they look good at all times, for me and myself and my whole family."
(T. SMITH) "Going off of what he said, I've had the opportunity to know Jimmy myself, getting to know him over the process, and he's a great guy. The way the media tries to portray him, I feel that's not him. He's a great guy, he's down to earth, and like you said, these things are in the past, so I just feel like people should focus more on what he's about to do from this day forward."
Coach Friedgen's playbook is famous – 500 pages – did that help you in your preparation with the Combine and everything else?
(T. SMITH) "I think so. I had the opportunity to learn the pro-style offense from when I stepped on campus that summer to that fall and then [former Maryland offensive coordinator] James Franklin came in my first spring, and I learned the West Coast offense, and I was able to learn both all the way through. Friedgen's was tough. There are things I kind of laugh at that I didn't get at that point when I was a freshman, but being that I matured and learned so much, and I understand concepts in the game of football itself. So, I think transitioning to the League as far as understanding the offense and things like that, I don't think that will be too big of an issue for me."
Right or wrong, a lot was made of the t-shirt you were wearing Thursday night, can you tell us about that shirt?
(J. SMITH) "It was just a t-shirt."
Nothing to be made of it, it was Scarface, right?
*(J. SMITH) *"It was Scarface on the t-shirt."
(T. SMITH) "Great movie."
(J. SMITH) "I didn't even know anyone said anything about it."
You didn't specifically want to wear that on TV for any reason?
*(J. SMITH) *"No, it was just a Scarface t-shirt, and I had an opportunity to wear it."
Any reason you weren't wearing a suit – you're wearing one today and you look good?
(J. SMITH) "Because I was at home, and I didn't think I was really going to see anybody."
Do you look forward to your matchup at training camp with the guy next to you?
"I think we'll definitely have some fun. I feel like they brought us in both to help make an impact, and we're going to push each other to help us both be the best players we can be."
You're both represented by Drew Rosenhaus, and your last names are Smith, is there anything else that we're going to find out about the two of you? :
*(T. SMITH) *"My first name's James, and his is Jimmy."
(J. SMITH) "My first name's James."
(T. SMITH) "There, so we got that in common, too. Technically, we're both James Smith."
Is there anything these guys can do, assuming the lockout goes on for a bit, to communicate with some of their new teammates to get ready for football?
(HARBAUGH) "I think that's part of their plan, talking to both these two guys. Players can work out on their own, but they can also work out together. So I'm pretty sure that both of our James Smiths here are going to find their teammates and get together and spend time with them and learn the defense and the offense from our players, and that will be a plus for us. I know our guys are looking forward to getting with these two guys."
"The other thing I want to say, real quick, is congratulations to both your families for what you have accomplished. This is a momentous thing for you guys, the work and the effort you put in, in the classroom, on the field over the years, and now have a chance to play in the National Football League as top draft choices, just congratulations to your families. You all have done a great job."
Jimmy, you told me that you've already talked to Ray Lewis. Can you expound on what he said to you and have you made any plans going forward?
(J. SMITH) "He just told me I'm welcome here with open arms, and hopefully we can get together and talk and kind of just let me know, you know, that he's 'Ray-Ray.' I'm just honored to be on a team with Ray and this defense."
Was that a surprise to hear from him right off the bat, so soon, and what does that mean to you?
(J. SMITH) "I don't know if it was such a surprise because everyone knows this is his defense, so I think he'll have something to say. For me, it's just an honor. I'm just really happy that I'm playing for the Ravens. When you think about the Ravens, you think about defense. Being a defensive player, I'm just really excited about it."
**FOURTH-ROUND PICK WR TANDON DOSS: CONFERENCE CALL
On his abilities as a wide receiver:"Obviously, at Indiana we're a dink-and-dunk team, so we were able to move the ball on teams. I have a lot of experience running some slot routes and some from the outside. Anywhere the Ravens need me, I'm willing to fill in."
On how much his size is a factor in his play-making abilities:"I've got pretty good size on me. DBs are usually a little bit smaller, but they're still strong. I feel like I [will] be able to have my way with DBs, [but] I know it's going to be a lot tougher in the League, obviously. Hopefully, my size can [be a] benefit for me, and I'll be able to make plays."
On whether he was disappointed that he slipped down in the Draft:"Yeah. There is always disappointment. You feel like you're better than some of the people that have been drafted. I feel like Baltimore is a good fit for me, and I'm excited to get things rolling."
On whether he felt like the Ravens were interested in him through the pre-Draft process:"I thought they had a little bit of interest, but I've had more teams show more interest than they did. It's just a big question mark of where you're going to go and what offense [will] fit you the most."
On whether he visited or worked out for Baltimore:"I did not have either."
On how the adversity he has faced off the field has shaped him as a player:"I've been through stuff throughout my life. It made me a lot tougher, and I had to grow up a lot quicker coming from that with my family. I feel like football has always been an escape for me. Every time I'm on the field, I always give 100 percent – my best. I clear my mind and focus on what I need to get done."
On whether he visits family members often:"Yes, almost every day. I'm here with them now. They've been a huge influence on my life. They've been there since Day No. 1. We're all excited to get things going."