This past Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens announced their 53-man roster, as they prepare for Monday Night Football, and the New York Jets.
One man not on that roster is Quarterback Troy Smith. The All-American and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner was cut by the Ravens on Saturday, after a less-than-stellar performance during his start in the Ravens’ final preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. Smith was 18-for-38 with 2 INTs, as the Ravens were defeated 27-21, giving them their only loss of the preseason.
But let’s go back to when Ozzie Newsome drafted Troy Smith. Smith was supposed to be “the next big thing.” Winning all kinds of awards, including the AP Player of the Year in college, Smith was expected to be the future starting QB for the Ravens. Perhaps the wildcat offense was coming to Baltimore. Who knew? But expectations were high in Baltimore at that time.
The crazy offense never materialized here, and Smith stayed in the background. However, due to a season-ending injury to incumbent starter Kyle Boller, Smith was named the starting QB in 2008. And that’s when something would happen that would change the future of the Ravens. Smith became ill with a rare case of tonsillitis. Usually, a complete recovery is made within one week. One week is all new QB Joe Flacco would need. Flacco became the starting quarterback in the 2008 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Once again, Smith was on the outside looking in. Many fans felt that Smith should not have lost his starting position. Some teammates felt that way as well. (And now, you have to wonder if those same people feel the same way, after a Flacco-led Ravens reached the playoffs in back-to-back years.) But it happened, and the Ravens have never looked back.
This year, the team brought in veteran Marc Bulger, not to replace Joe Flacco, but give the Ravens a more solid backup in case something happens to Flacco. Was that a shot against Smith? Yes it was. But it should have motivated him to fight and keep his job. And when given the opportunity to do so, Smith dropped the ball. Smith completed 54.0 percent (34 of 63) of his passes for 388 yards this preseason, and was intercepted twice in the loss to the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale last Thursday night. When you have Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger, you realize that Troy Smith is no longer needed.
Smith had his chance late. Should he have had them earlier? Maybe. But, he didn’t. And when he “wanted out of Baltimore” last year, he not only lost the remaining fans that were standing behind him, but also lost the team who was trying to figure out a way to keep him. Watch what you say, because the team will always remember it for next year. And for Troy Smith, he finally got his “wish.”