Late For Work 6/26: Ravens-Steelers Scrum Leads To Ref Beating Cancer

Steelers fans boo Smith at charity game. Former Raven Troy Smith released by Pit.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ravens-Steelers Scrum Leads To Ref Beating Cancer

Remember the NFL referee, Tony Corrente, who was “lucky” for getting knocked down and injured during a Ravens-Steelers scrum in last season’s opener?

The injury led to a trip to the doctor’s office, where physicians discovered throat cancer early enough to treat it.

After months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, doctors were able to deliver excellent news to Corrente in May. They can no longer find any evidence of cancer remaining in him, reports the L.A. Times’ Sam Farmer.


His journey was filled with pain and hardship, as Corrente lost his sense of taste and drinking supplement drinks felt “like swallowing broken glass.” The 60-year-old retired high school teacher dropped from 194 to 180 pounds, but he was able to avoid a feeding tube and surgery.

And even with the NFL currently looking for replacement referees because of a contract dispute with the officials’ union, Corrente is just thankful for life.

“When you can wake up in the morning,” Corrente told Farmer, “every day is a good day.”

It’s been nearly nine months since Corrente broke up Ravens center Matt Birk and right tackle Michael Oher from Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley and safety Ryan Mundy. Corrente fell hard to the ground during the scuffle, hitting his head on the turf. He felt soreness in his neck and back, but didn’t feel dizzy.

Ravens trainers allowed him back in the game, but told him to take an over-the-counter pain medication in the officials training room. Corrente chose Motrin over Tylenol, which was a significant decision because the medicine acted like a blood thinner. The Motrin, combined with his coughing, caused a vessel in the tumor to break.

He woke up to blood on his pillow, so he promptly went to the specialist, and the rest is history.

After his first round of chemotherapy, Corrente worked another Baltimore game at the end of the season and thanked Birk and Oher for knocking him down and saving his life. They stood in front of him “dumbfounded.”

“Mind-blowing is a good word,” Birk said in January. “You know, the guy says half-jokingly, but half-serious, that we saved his life. It’s kind of like, ‘Well, no.’

“I just came back to that you never know how God is going to use you. And here Mike and I just thought we were probably just being tough guys, getting in a little scuffle after a play, but everything happens for a reason.”

Steelers Fans Boo Smith At Charity Game

I have a little more info on the Torrey Smith tweet from yesterday.

The Ravens second-year receiver participated in a charity celebrity softball game over the weekend, hosted by Philadelphia Eagles halfback LeSean McCoy to raise support and awareness of ALS.

Torrey Smith’s Catch

It’s a disease Smith and Ravens fans know a lot about because of Senior Advisor of Player Development O.J. Brigance’s fight against the illness. (Check out Smith and his teammates singing happy birthday to O.J. in one of the most heartwarming videos I’ve ever seen come out of the team facility.)

The charity softball event was hosted in Lancaster, Pa., which is firmly planted in Steelers Country. So when Smith was introduced to the crowd of 7,000, he didn’t receive the warmest welcome.

“I had a nice ovation full of Boos from Steeler fans haha jeez it’s a charity game,” he wrote on Twitter.

If Smith continues to break Steelers fans’ hearts, he will have to get used to the booing.

As a rookie, Smith caught the game-winning touchdown pass at Heinz Field last November. Trailing by four points, the Ravens offense managed a 92-yard drive, capped off by Smith’s 26-yard TD grab over cornerback William Gay with eight second remaining. Go ahead, re-live the moment with the video to the right.  

And the catch was more than just a single game-winner. It gave the Ravens a sweep over the Steelers last year, which ended up being the division tiebreaker when both teams finished 12-4. As the AFC North champs, the Ravens got a first-round bye and a home playoff game in the divisional round. The Steelers had to travel to Denver for the wild-card round, and lost in overtime.

“In a way, Smith’s catch made the Ravens’ season and broke Pittsburgh’s,” wrote’s John Eisenberg.

Former Raven Troy Smith Released By Pittsburgh

Former Ravens quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday, per the team’s official Twitter account.

The former Ohio State star and Ravens’ 2007 sixth-round pick was trying to revive his NFL career after being released by the Ravens and 49ers, and then playing for the Omaha Nighthawks last year in the UFL.

When Smith was signed by the Steelers in May, he knew the odds were against him in making the roster, but he was hopeful. At the time, veterans Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, the backups to starter Ben Roethlisbeger for multiple years, were free agents.

But Leftwich and Batch are back in Pittsburgh, leaving Smith the odd man out.

“That leaves Smith without a job a month before the start of camps and more than a year removed from his last NFL experience,” wrote’s Josh Alper.

Quick Hits

  • Ravens: Reminder, Haloti Ngata will be revealed in the top 10 of NFLN’s Top 100 Players of 2012 this Wednesday. How high do you think he’ll be? [Twitter]
  • CaryWilliams29: Thankful for another day…All good things come to those who WORK!!! Stay Hungry, Stay Humble [Twitter]
  • vleach44: Vonta Leach football camp weekend in NC 5 days away. Come out and support events. [Twitter]
  • CaryWilliams29: I decree it, I declare it, I shall win!!! Listening to Marvin Sapp – “I Win” In spite of the circumstance and situation…I have the victory [Twitter]
  • JameelMcClain: Had to push myself today.. Happy about the results. Not finishing is not an option➡➡EVER! [Twitter]
  • Some Bengals fans think their franchise is still unfairly and ignorantly labeled as a thug team. Are Bengals players’ deeds going unnoticed? [Cincy Jungle]

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