NFL Players Association | Smith, Kerrigan Attract 4,500 to Charity Basketball Game

From NFLplayers.com
Author: Rob Smith/NFLPA Communications

battle-of-beltway2

{ NFL talent came to the Comcast Center for the Battle of the Beltway, a charity basketball game benefiting the foundations of the Ravens receiver and Washington Redskins defensive end. }

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Aside from the Pro Bowl, one would be hard-pressed to find as impressive a collection of NFL talent as the group of players that convened Saturday at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland for the Battle of the Beltway, a charity basketball game benefitting the foundations of Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith and Washington Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.

Anquan Boldin, Joe Haden, DeAngelo Hall, Terrell Suggs and T.Y. Hilton highlighted the star-studded rosters for the annual event, which Smith began putting on prior to his rookie season in 2011. Kerrigan, with whom Smith developed a friendship prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, lent his support this time around in order to attract more Redskins fans and raise money for his own charity.

“He’s a great guy,” Smith said of Kerrigan. “I’m glad he decided to team up with me to benefit both of our foundations. My ultimate goal is to connect I-95, and Ryan is doing his part and doing a great job.”

The highlight of the day came during halftime, when Smith recognized four local high school students as the inaugural recipients of the Tevin Jones Scholarship Fund, an award given in memory of Smith’s late brother, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2012.

“It’s a big moment for my family and the organization because folks have been supporting us since he passed,” Smith said. “Through the scholarship, and through the help of others, it allows his name to live on. He’s able to help others even though he’s not here. I’m excited about it.”

The game, which Smith’s team won 63-61 in overtime on a game-winning putback by fellow Raven Jacoby Jones, drew 4,493 fans in its first year at the Comcast Center.

Increasing popularity forced Smith to move the game to a larger venue after holding the game at Stafford High (Smith’s high school) from 2011-2013. Fortunately for Smith, he was able to move the game from one former school to another. He graduated from Maryland in 2010.

“The biggest thing that we’re able to do is help more people because of it,” Smith said. “We were able to create a different kind of environment, more of a family feel this year. Hopefully, it will continue to grow.

“Obviously it’s a place where I had some great memories watching our college team. For the school to allow me to have my event there, it’s pretty special. I’m just proud to continue to be associated with it (the university).”

Boldin, who drew loud cheers of “Q!” when introduced Saturday, said he remains close with Smith and was happy to volunteer his time for the event.“We’re not teammates anymore, but we still keep in contact,” he said. “He supports me, and I support him. That won’t stop.”

The players’ foundations will split the event’s proceeds equally. The Torrey Smith Foundation serves the youth of Baltimore by providing educational support, opportunities and resources. Kerrigan’s Blitz for the Better Foundation focuses on providing support for seriously ill, special needs and physically challenged children in the Greater Washington, D.C., area.

“That’s the goal of the foundation,” said Kerrigan, who has an autistic family member. “Any time we can raise money to help fund it, help run it, help better people’s lives, it’s a good thing.” – See more at: http://www.torreysmith.org/blogpost.aspx?ID=1016#sthash.lkhRni7h.dpuf

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