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It didn’t take long for Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to get in touch with the newest member of his defense.
Shortly after first-round draft pick Jimmy Smith was selected 27th overall, Lewis called the Colorado product with a message of congratulations and welcome.
“He just told me I’m welcome here with open arms, and hopefully we can get together and talk and kind of just let me know, you know, that he’s ‘Ray-Ray,’” a beaming Smith said in his introductory press conference. “I’m just honored to be on a team with Ray and this defense.”
It’s going to take a close relationship with veterans like Lewis to bring the rookies up to speed if the NFL continues the lockout this offseason, so Smith’s conversation with No. 52 is a good sign.
Smith said he wasn’t surprised to hear from the linebacking great after hearing about his relationships with other players around the league and knowing his history in Baltimore.
“I don’t know if it was such a surprise because everyone knows this is his defense, so I think he’ll have something to say,” said Smith. “For me, it’s just an honor. I’m just really happy that I’m playing for the Ravens. When you think about the Ravens, you think about defense.
“Being a defensive player, I’m just really excited about it.”
Smith is one of the lucky ones who made it to their respective team’s facility last Friday during the one-day moratorium on the work stoppage, allowing him to pick up a playbook.
For his part, Smith is hoping to meet his teammates face-to-face and get to work.
“I’m more excited about that than everything else, just to know that I have basically three Hall of Famers playing defense and they are going to be the guys to teach me how to be a better player,” said Smith. “Who else would you want to learn from than an Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata?
“It’s truly a blessing to have players like that to be on the team with.”