March 09, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles jumped out of the gates in free agency on Thursday, inking wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery and added guard Chance Warmack as the team gets its roster in order for next month's draft.
Picking up Smith, a former Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens, may prove to be one of the upcoming season's sleeper signings. Despite two down years in San Francisco — Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly aren't exactly John or Jim Harbaugh — the 28-year-old wideout remains a deep threat and a reliable, experienced pass catcher.
He's also an outspoken guy who flatly admitted playing in San Fran was "terrible" and simply "not fun," particularly in limited action last season.
For all of the highs Smith has enjoyed in the NFL, he's also faced some serious adversity since entering the league. At the start of the 2012 season, Smith's younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. The very next day, an emotional Smith scored two touchdowns for the Ravens, who would go on to defeat the 49ers in the Super Bowl that season.
But Smith, who periodically writes for SportsBlog, also opened up last February about a family crisis involving his wife's second pregnancy. At the time, doctors were concerned that the baby might have Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that causes children to be born with smaller features, heart defects and intellectual disabilities. In such cases, giving birth can put both the infant and the mother at serious risk.
To work through the experience, Smith decided to write about it:
What do you do? Do you go forward knowing the outcome will be a miscarriage or death shortly after birth all while putting your life in danger? Or do you terminate the pregnancy? Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about abortions. I think that it should only happen in extreme situations...not because a couple was negligent in practicing safe sex.
Being in this situation has changed the way I view everything about it. I realized I have no right to suggest to her what she should do. I can talk about the pros and cons of each, or maybe even make suggestions, but I couldn’t pressure her one way or the other. When I realized that, it hurt me to the core. I feared that I could lose both of them. I also didn’t know how she could handle carrying a baby for months knowing what the ultimate outcome would be.
Fortunately, Smith's second child, Kameron, was cleared of Trisomy 18. The experience, however, changed the wideout's understanding of disability and deepened his admiration for his wife's toughness and faith in deciding to move forward with her pregnancy.
"A disability doesn’t make you unhealthy; it just means you may have different challenges," Smith wrote. "We all have challenges, and we are ready for ours that will soon come."
A year later, Smith is a Philadelphia Eagle and will bring his two sons to the City of Brotherly Love.