WR Steve Smith
On what today was like for him and why he decided on the Ravens:"This is my first time being this age and going through free agency, for the first time ever, so that was unique, and [so was] being recruited, but also having conversations with a lot of people. It started late last night and it went through pretty much until almost about four o'clock [this afternoon]. This has been an organization that has a history of getting veteran players, and they also have young players, fusing them together, so that was very appealing. Obviously, also, it was very appealing because it's a short flight from Charlotte. I love the coach [John Harbaugh], and I like the offensive scheme. [Wide receivers coach] Bobby Engram is very similar to a [Panthers receivers coach] Ricky Proehl, a former player and wide receivers coach. It just had a lot of familiarity in some regards, but then also had a fresh new perspective. Everything seemed to gel, and coach Harbaugh was excellent. We talked about a lot of things, and the one thing that they said that was consistent was, 'We want you to be yourself.' That was good, that was very encouraging. I enjoyed that."
On how frustrating it was for him that things did not work out with the Panthers:"To be honest, I wasn't frustrated. Things didn't happen, they didn't work out. But, I guess that's just how things go. Like I said, I don't harbor any bad feelings. I kind of used the blood and guts thing … That was more tongue-in-cheek; I wasn't literally saying that I don't like this organization anymore. That's not the case. I love the organization. I love what they've done for me. I have nothing but respect for them. Even my teammates are calling me, congratulating me. My teammates have been telling me how good of a player [I am] and how they're going to miss me. So, I have no ill feelings or hold any grudges or [am] upset or any of that. People may think I'm just saying that to say it, but I can't be upset at an organization that gave me everything – that gave me the opportunity to display for future teams – and display for the Baltimore Ravens – that I can still play. That's what they gave me – that opportunity. Because of that opportunity, that's why I'm able to continue to pursue playing football."
On what the recruiting visit was like and what was done in order to sell him on the Ravens:"Well, [offensive coordinator] coach [Gary] Kubiak, I know his system. I've seen his system; I've seen the very creative ways they've gotten other guys the ball. I want to be a part of that. One of the things I've seen for myself – I don't see myself in coach Kubiak's system like [Texans WR] Andre Johnson] – I see the complementary dude of [former Texans WR] Kevin Walter. I see how he contributed and how he was instrumental in getting Andre the ball but also getting his own opportunities. I see how he used [former Texans TE Owen] Daniels. So, he used a lot of guys in his system, and I wanted to go into a system that I could be utilized but I could also benefit from other great players. I think Torrey Smith is going to be a fantastic player. They've got some [players] – Jacoby Jones, Ray Rice – they've got some guys that are already established. It takes a lot of pressure off of me, and I look forward to that."* *
On whether he planned to take multiple visits or if he thought he might sign with Baltimore immediately:"I was actually going to have a trip scheduled to New England on Monday, but it didn't work out because of how things went here. But I was scheduled to go to New England on Monday. They've been having some weather issues, so this weekend, getting through there was going to be kind of tough, so I had spoken to [Patriots] coach [Bill] Belichick personally when I was at the airport on my way to Baltimore. We had a conversation that indicated that they were very interested in me. And I was also open to going there as well, but I really felt like after sitting here that this is the place that I felt would best fit me, and they convinced me that I would fit in here very well."
On who some of the other teams were that showed interest in him:"I know San Diego – we had an offer on the table from San Diego. Seattle was interested. The Washington Redskins wanted me to take a trip since I was already here. And so, there were some other teams as well, but it's not really of value how many other teams were in the mix. The part and the thing that's the most important is I found a home that seems to want me, and I wanted them."
On if he feels like he comes to Baltimore with a chip on his shoulder after being released:"No, I'm not coming to Baltimore with any chip on my shoulder. I'm coming to Baltimore as Steve Smith."
On if he feels like he is joining a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl:"One of the things that I didn't want to do is I didn't want to be on the next two or three years of my career chasing dreams or saying, 'Well, what's the next team?' Nobody can pick anything. Nobody can pick a team that's going to go to the Super Bowl. All you can do is look at people's roster, look at the system they have, and you believe that with yourself you can help impact that system and make yourself available and be able to increase the chances. So, I believe and the Baltimore Ravens believe that I can help increase the chances of us being successful, and so that's what we're going to do. We're going to swing for the fence, and there's nothing wrong with that. But chasing a ring and making it about all these other things – you can't do that."
On how much he believes he can add physicality and toughness from what Baltimore lost in WR Anquan Boldin:"I can tell you this: I'm not Anquan Boldin. I respect the heck out of 'Q,' and what 'Q' brings to the table is what 'Q' brings to the table. I'm Steve Smith, and what I bring to the table as a Baltimore Raven, I have to earn that, and my time on the field will display what I bring to the table. My comparison to Anquan … I can't [compare], because I respect the heck out of that guy and what he brings to the table and who he is. We play similar games; we want to win and we go all-out. But we're also individuals, and so I'm not here to replace anyone. I'm here to be myself."
On his thoughts about playing with a Super Bowl MVP in QB Joe Flacco:"I'm excited about catching passes, and I'm excited about learning a new offense. So, whether [he's won] a Super Bowl or not, he's a topnotch quarterback, and I look forward to growing and learning."
On if he had a chance to talk with Flacco at all today:"Coach Harbaugh called him and it went to voicemail, so I'm expecting to talk to him and Ray Rice and some of the other guys as well."
General Manager/Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome
"We've added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens. Steve is a proven player who has performed his best in big games and on the biggest stages like the playoffs and Super Bowl. He adds toughness to our offense, big-play ability and leadership to our team."
Head Coach John Harbaugh
"Steve is a Ravens-style football player. He always has been in our eyes, it's just that he's been playing for another team. We've always respected and admired the way he plays, and we've always been challenged playing against him. I've known him ever since he came into the league, and we've always had a great relationship. The last two days, however, have given all of us with the Ravens an opportunity to get to know him on another level, and now, we're even more impressed. We're looking forward to working together and competing together."