It’s been a tough week for the Ravens. In addition to losing a heartbreaking game on Monday night against the Patriots, they likely lost cornerback Jimmy Smith for this Sunday’s matchup due to a sprained ankle and learned on Monday that their former tight end, Konrad Reuland, had passed away.
With all of those reasons and pressure mounting, frustration showed in at least one key player at today’s practice. ESPN reports that Steve Smith, Sr., ripped off his helmet and threw it during the first hour of practice. Apparently, Joe Flacco had just overthrown consecutive passes to Smith right before he lost his temper. After tossing his helmet, the veteran wide receiver kicked a football and sat down by himself at practice while the team continued running drills.
Smith wasn’t the only one feeling a bit tense today. Edward Lee of the Sun reports that Coach John Harbaugh could be heard raising his voice at his players gathered in the middle of the field.
Smith offered little explanation for his outburst. “I don’t have to explain anything to you,” he told ESPN when asked about the outburst. “I can choose to do what I want to.”
Outside of missed passes, Smith has plenty of reasons to be feeling frustrated. At 7-6, his team’s playoff chances are in the balance with three games left in the season. Coach Harbaugh has of course indicated they plan to win all of them. The first is this Sunday against the 5-8 Eagles, while the other two are against division rivals: the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) and the Cincinnati Bengals (5-7). The good news is that they already beat both of those teams this season, though they’ll be tough matchups regardless.
As John Breech at CBS Sports writes, there’s still a solid chance they could secure the AFC Wild Card spot in the playoffs with only two more wins, thanks to their success against AFC teams this year that would give them a tiebreaker against other 9-7 AFC teams.
Still, the situation isn’t ideal for the team, and especially not for Smith. He presently has three games left in the final season of his Hall of Fame career.
Even if Smith doesn’t comment any further on what made him flare up today, we can at least take it as a sign that he’s focusing with the utmost intensity on the final few games of the season.
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