Eagles fans, we’ve found your new favorite quote.
After a guarded Howie Roseman (understandable considering free agency is still very much underway) and a possibly comatose Joe Douglas gave flavorless answers for 20 minutes, Torrey Smith’s subsequent press conference was hopefully a sign of things to come on the field: quick, fun, and full of confidence.
Reports of the 28-year-old wide receiver’s demise are premature, Smith says, and he’ll say it again if you didn’t hear him the first time.
“I can still run, I definitely haven’t lost a step,” Smith said with a grin Friday. “I think, because I was part of an organization in Baltimore that we had a lot of success early, that people think I’m super old. But I was really young when that was happening. I’m only 28, I just turned 28 in January. I take good care of my body, and I’m ready to roll.”
Smith, who’s coming off a down year in San Francisco thanks in no small part to the general ineptitude of last year’s 49ers team, has been a big-play generator for the better part of his career. He ranks in the top five in yards per reception among active wide receivers. Speed is a huge part of his game, and to have people doubt his speed and ability would be to doubt his effectiveness as a player.
Does he still think he has the big-play, field-stretching ability? Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly asked Smith exactly that on Friday.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You want to race? We can go do it.”
Zangaro admitted he thought Smith would win the race. He was probably right.
“I’ll just tell you this,” Smith said. “I haven’t lost a step. And I can still play. So don’t be surprised.”
Smith’s ties to Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl, two suddenly-very-important men in the Eagles’ leadership hierarchy, are numerous. The two were scouting him during his time at the University of Maryland, when both Douglas and Weidl worked for the Ravens.
As Douglas and Howie Roseman said Friday, relationships were a big part of the Eagles’ free agency successes. Smith agreed.
“Joe and Andy I’ve known, I guess, since college,” Smith said. “I remember seeing those guys on the field. The relationships in Baltimore, they were obviously responsible for scouting me and helping me come to that organization. I trust them. Whether I’m right or wrong, I know they’re going to tell me. I know they’re going to be honest. And that means a lot.
“I’m very comfortable with Joe, and Andy, they had my back. So having that kind of comfort level and knowing this is a team that, I don’t want to say they courted me, but I know they’ve had interest in me for a while. I wanted to be a part of it, there’s potential here to build something special, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
But it’s not just the great relationships with that drew Smith to the Eagles, he asserted. He’s also pretty excited about the players already in Philadelphia. You might’ve heard of one.
His name’s Carson.
Watching early games from the West Coast, Smith was impressed by what he saw from the Birds’ young gunslinger. He’s already exchanged text messages with Wentz. Smith said he seems like a cool guy.
“I watched Carson play from a distance, and you can see he has that ‘it’ factor,” Smith said. “And obviously he’s still young, so he’s not perfect, but I know he has the potential to get it done. To be able to play with a guy that I can also grow with, and help him in other ways, I’m looking forward to it.”
As for the nature of his contract itself, a one-year deal with two team options and very little guaranteed money, Smith said the relative lack of financial security isn’t a problem.
“Because I’ll make the team,” he said. “So there’s no worries about that.”
A few extra highlights from the presser:
Smith, on playing for Chip Kelly
I love Chip. Chip is a great guy. I’ve learned a lot from him. I know that might make some folks here mad, but I have nothing bad to say about Chip Kelly. I thought offensively, there were things he did that worked very well. I just always think, with anything, no disrespect to Coach Pederson, but I think it’s a players’ game. When we execute, that call seems like the greatest play in the world, and we don’t, it seems terrible. I think it all goes together. But I think Chip’s a great guy, great coach.
Smith, on whether he knew Alshon Jeffery was coming
Top secret information. [Laughs.] Nah, all jokes aside, when I came here and I knew I was coming here, I had the opportunity to talk to Howie for a second, and he mentioned that was a possibility. And I was hoping, man, when I leave here, I see my phone with some Twitter alerts about Alshon, because man he can ball.
Smith, on three head coaches in three years
I don’t think it really changes anything in what it demands from me, because my job is the same, regardless of who’s the coach, who’s the quarterback. But I still, even though things didn’t work out on the field, playing-wise, I still have all the respect in the world for my last two head coaches, and also the 49ers organization. You’ll never hear me say anything bad about it.