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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith of Stafford (second from right) poses with family members on the day of the 2011 NFL draft. Brother Tevin Jones (far right) died in a motorcycle accident in September 2012.
FILE/Reza A. Marvashti/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY TAFT COGHILL
After the Baltimore Ravens won the AFC championship Jan. 20, their players were given three days off.
The team needed time to recuperate from the physical pounding of 19 games, but there wasn't much relaxation during the stretch.
It was a hectic period as players decided whom they would invite to Super Bowl XLVII Sunday in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers.
Ravens' wide receiver Torrey Smith had to make hotel arrangements and travel plans for more than a dozen of his family members and friends.
"Oh, my goodness," said Smith a Colonial Beach native and Stafford High School graduate, "that's been the worst part about it. But I'm glad we got that out of the way first.
"I've got my family coming down and a few of my high school coaches--all the people who watched me from day one. So I'm excited about that."
Several of Smith's family members and two of his Stafford coaches departed Baltimore-Washington International airport Thursday. His mother, Monica Jenkins, is scheduled to leave today.
Jenkins said she's struggled this week to balance the start of a new job in Washington, interview requests from the national media, preparing her children for the trip and responding to well-wishes from friends and family members.
"Overwhelming is an understatement," she said.
But in the midst of the workload, there has been excitement, too.
Roger Pierce, who was Smith's head coach from his freshman through junior years at Stafford, said he's thrilled to be attending his first Super Bowl.
He recalls his brother, John Pierce, a longtime Stafford assistant, providing rides for Smith to practice. He said Smith was always "attentive and eager to learn."
"The big thing about him was the character he displayed," Roger Pierce said. "He was always a caring person, someone who was willing to listen, to cooperate and do the right thing in the classroom. To me, that's what made the difference for him at each level."
Troy Smith, 22, said he's looking forward to seeing his brother realize a lifelong dream in only his second season in the NFL. Troy Smith had a barber cut the Ravens emblem into his hair this week to show support for the team.