After a pair of WWE-style toe holds against the Panthers earlier this month, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict instantly became known as the dirtiest player in pro football. Ravens receiver Torrey Smith agrees with that sentiment, with a caveat.
During the third quarter of Sunday’s game at Cincinnati, Smith ran a slant route from the “X” position on the left side of the field. But receiver Marlon Brown had come in motion, filling the slot between Smith and the left tackle. Bengals cornerback Leon Hall had followed Brown; when Smith made his move to the inside he ran into Hall. Their helmets collided.
Smith was stunned, and he bent over and put his hands on his legs. Meanwhile, the ball had been thrown. The guy covering Smith, Bengals receiver Adam Jones, intercepted it.
After the interception, Smith was still standing there while Bengals players joined the convoy, looking for Ravens to block. Burfict saw Smith, shoving him half-heartedly before approaching Smith in a way that suggested concern for him.
“It could have been a lot worse watching the video,” Smith told Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. “That’s the one time. As a dirty of a player as I think he is — he’s a heck of a player — he’s a dirty one, too. He definitely held up. He has some good to him.”
Smith also explained that he wasn’t going to try to avoid the concussion protocol after taking a blow to the head.
“It was a flash for me,” Smith said. “Some people were like, ‘Well, if there was a flash, it was bright, you had a concussion.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not playing around with a concussion. I passed my physical test. They had that little iPad thing that you do. I was fine. They kind of left it up for me, and I felt fine. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have went back out there for those few plays. I don’t want to be 50 years old and not know what’s going on with my kids and my grandkids.”
That’s the right attitude for players to have regarding concussions. Hopefully, more will behave that way moving forward.
Hopefully, the good that Smith saw in Burfict will be something other than an aberration.