When the Baltimore Ravens used their first-round draft pick on cornerback Jimmy Smith, they were taking a chance that a talented player with character concerns could stay out of trouble, even during the lockout, when the Ravens are prevented from having any contact with him.
But where the Ravens’ coaching staff can’t do anything to keep Smith in line, some of the veteran players are stepping in. Smith said shortly after he was drafted that Ravens linebacker and team captain Ray Lewis had already contacted him.
“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,’” Smith said. “I’m just honored to be on a team with Ray and this defense.”
Meanwhile, cornerback Domonique Foxworth said that not only is he not threatened by having a young first-round draft pick at his position, but he talked to the coaching staff on the day the lockout was lifted and specifically asked them to help him get in touch with Smith.
“I told them to pass my phone number along,” Foxworth said. “Every young player needs to have somebody who can help him [make the transition]. I’m excited to be that sort of person for him. . . . It’s what you do any time someone is drafted at your position.”
It’s not what every player would do, but it’s good for the Ravens — and for Smith — that it’s what players in Baltimore are doing.