Off-field accolade comes to Ravens WR Torrey Smith

Off-field accolade comes to Ravens WR Torrey Smith
August 21, 2014, 10:00 pm
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(Tim Heltman-USA TODAY Sports)

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith on Thursday was honored with the Tim Wheatley Award for outstanding community service. The award is given by the Baltimore Sun Media Group and is named for Tim Wheatley, who was the Sun's sports editor before he was killed in a car accident in 2009.

Wheatley's wife and three of his children were on hand at the Ravens practice on Thursday to present the award, which was created in 2010 to recognize a local athlete whose contributions off the field are as important as those on the field. Last year's winner was Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis. Previous winners have included Dominique Foxworth, Adam Jones and Ray Rice.

Smith runs a charity basketball game and provides educational support for at-risk children throughout the Baltimore region through his charitable foundation. Smith and his wife have also organized holiday toy drives, school supply drives and and have been involved in many other initiatives with local schools.

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"He's perhaps the most active athlete in the Baltimore area when it comes to community service," said Tim Wheatley's son, Dave, in presenting the award.

"He is a great role model for the kids, and we are happy to honor him with this award," Dave Wheatley added.

Smith, a Virginia native who played collegiately at Maryland, has become one of the most popular Ravens players. In accepting the award, Smith said, "I believe that I’ve been placed in this organization for a reason, and specifically this city, and I understand that there’s a lot of kids in this city that are in situations just like I had growing up. They’re looking for somebody they can relate to, and I take a lot of pride in being that guy."

"This isn’t just a commitment for right now," he added. "I say it all the time: This is a long-term commitment. We love this city, and I appreciate the Wheatley family and the Sun for this award."