JIMMY SMITH CONTRACT EXTENSION PRESS CONFERENCE*
Opening statement from general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome: "OK, thanks for coming on such short notice. A lot of credit for this event goes to Drew Rosenhaus and [senior vice president of football administration] Pat [Moriarty]. I think over the course of the last three or four weeks a lot of dialogue has gone on in trying to get an extension for Jimmy [Smith]. We, today, have signed Jimmy to a four-year extension, which is a five-year deal the way we're looking at it. It's one of the things that I think it starts with Steve [Bisciotti]. Steve is always committed to try to retain as many of his good players as he can. He has been very much involved in this part of the negotiation as far as that he wanted Jimmy to get the extension. I think over the course of the last two or three weeks, it probably has been several conversations between Jimmy and coach [John] Harbaugh about Jimmy's commitment to want to be here, and I think that was an important role in getting this done. But, it's an opportunity where we can have one of our good, young players extend their career here in Baltimore. I think that his best football is still ahead of him. If he doesn't get hurt in the Cincinnati game last year, I don't know where he could have ended up as a player, but he was definitely trending up. And I just want to thank Jimmy for committing five more years of football to us, and I'm looking forward to it."
Opening statement from CB Jimmy Smith: "First, obviously, I want to thank the Ravens organization for extending me, to be here coming off an injury and with such a great deal. I need to thank my agent [Drew Rosenhaus] for the hard work he put in with Pat [Moriarty] to get this deal done, and I'm tremendously happy just to be a Raven for the next five years of my career, and I plan on getting rings."
On how he was not optimistic last year about signing a contract extension: "I more thought, 'I didn't think it was going to come last year.' That was in the fourth year. I didn't really try to focus on it. [When] a reporter asks you a question, you just have to kind of dodge it with that. That's all that was. I felt like they wanted me here. They got me here, they signed me, so it's all good."
On whether it will be a relief to play with a contract extension: "Absolutely. You don't have to worry about doing this during your last year or what's going to happen, injury, all that type of thing. Now I can just focus on getting healthy and getting back on the field. That's all my focus."
On how important it is for him to step into a leadership role: "It's definitely going to be important, especially this coming up year seeing that I'm like, what, maybe the third oldest tenure as far as Ravens go this year? (laughter) It's something vocally I haven't really had to do a lot, but this year you'll probably see a different change."
On what he still wants to accomplish: "If I could just play the whole season. No, I agree with [Ozzie Newsome], I think that my best football is still [ahead of me], because I'm still learning the game. I'm still having fun with everything. It's just exciting to see every year I'm growing, and I feel like people see the same. For me it's sky's the limit. I always say that, but I truly feel that way."
On when he felt like a contract extension could happen: "I felt like it could happen five days ago, when it happened. But other than that, we had talks. We were close, it was close enough, and like Ozzie said, for me it was never truly about being the highest paid corner. I know you can't be … I couldn't be that on this team and be here just because of the talent already spread around. You have to pay other people. So, I knew that going into this would be that with the injury and all that. All those things came to mind, but it worked out."
On why it was so important to remain in Baltimore: "They drafted me. They trusted me coming out of the draft. I mean, you guys read it. It made me feel some type of way, but for this organization to stand behind me through everything that's happened – even up to this point – it means a lot, and they have my back. So, I'm staying here."
On how much he feels he has matured on and off the field since being drafted: "I'm growing like everybody, just age-wise. My son matured me years already just in nine months. So, every day of life for me is a process. Not a process, but just growing. That's all that is."
On what he feels he will be able to do practice-wise this offseason: "We'll see when that comes." (Reporter: "Do you feel like you've made a lot of progress?") "Yes. I could beat you in a race right now. *(laughter) *I can."
On Baltimore's defensive tradition: "When you think of the Ravens, what do you think of? Defense. I'm a defensive player, and they put me back in here meaning that I'm almost a cornerstone of this defense. It means everything. The defense for the Baltimore Ravens has won two championships, so it means everything."