Last night, Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens and Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins hosted the Battle of the Beltway, a charity basketball event held at the Comcast Center in which proceeds went to the Torrey Smith Foundation and the Blitz for the Better Foundation. Marc Shea and I were at the game and were able to get some interviews and provide a little game play-by-play via Twitter.
The list of players who made up the Redskins squad included: Ryan Kerrigan, DeAngelo Hall, Niles Paul, Darryl Tapp, Kirk Cousins, Dezmon Briscoe, Fred Smoot, Antwan Randle El, Josh Morgan, Darrell Green, Greg Hardy, Greg Little, T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Francis, Big Tigger and Wale.
The Ravens team consisted of: Torrey Smith, Gerrard Sheppard, Haloti Ngata, Jacoby Jones, Ladarius Webb, Marlon Brown, Terrell Suggs, Tyrod Taylor, Marcell Dareus, Joe Haden, Tori Gurley, LeSean McCoy, Anquan Boldin, LaQuan Williams and Anthony Allen.
Before the game, they allowed a few of the celebrity players to come back to the Media Room for some quick interviews. We spoke with a few of them briefly:
HH: How did you and Ryan end up partnering (for this event)?
TS: Actually, the two people who closely work with our foundations and some people are a lot more on the edge and they start from there and they did a great job and they've been working long and hard. I was here yesterday for the walk through, just watching things and setting up and, like I said, it's all going to pay off and I'm looking forward to seeing it.
HH: Tell us about Blitz for the Better. What inspired you?
RK: Well, what inspired me to do it, first off it benefits special needs and physically challenged children throughout the greater Washington D.C. area. The passion for that came from . . . I have a cousin who is autistic and I've known many people throughout my life who were autistic or had some sort of special needs and I've seen the struggles that that has placed on their families and them, as well. So that is where the motivation came from. I want to help them out and help both the person afflicted with the condition and also their families.
HH: How many points are you laying tonight?
RK: Well, um, probably zero. I had a knee surgery this off-season, so I'll be doing a lot of coaching. I'll be getting on the refs, though, for sure.
HH: Have you had a chance to speak to Jay Gruden yet and how do you feel the Redskins are doing in the off-season so far?
RK: I think we're doing well. I think we've made some pretty good acquisitions and made some additions up front. Andre Roberts is a very talented receiver we've added and we've gotten the chance to speak to Coach Gruden a couple of times in passing. Nothing extensive, obviously, because we're not allowed to talk much football now, but he seems like a great guy and he seems like the right guy to lead us.
HH: Are you excited to be able to play under (Jim) Haslett again this year?
RK: I am. I have great respect for Jim Haslett and he's one of the main reasons that the Redskins drafted me. I know and I really love his system. I think it's a great system and when you have familiarity within a defensive scheme, especially one as complex as Jim Haslett's, that's definitely a plus for us defensively.
HH: Do you feel each year you've gotten a little bit better at changing over to the 3-4 defense and do you feel this year there will be growth off of last year?
RK: I'm hoping so. I'm really hoping for a big year this year because we've had three years to kind of get acclimated to being in the two point stance and rushing out of the two point stance. It needs to be a big year for me both personally and to help the team get where we want to be.
HH: Would you be interested in looking at an extension this year?
RK: Absolutely. I love it out here. I love Washington. I love the greater Washington area. I love it out here. The longer I can stay here the better.
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts):
HH: How do you feel about the Colts offseason so far this year and how have you seen Andrew Luck develop since he came in as a rookie?
TH: Oh he has developed into grown man. Just watching him practice. He practices like he plays. The intensity he brings to practice makes us play even more. His leadership on and off the field makes him special. In the offseason, we got a lot of guys that we needed, and we got some guys who can step in and play for us right now and help us out.
HH: Did you expect to be at this level in only your first couple years and having the production you've been having in the league?
TH: Without a doubt, with all the hard work I put in. And I have a great mentor in Reggie Wayne who has helped me out a ton on and off the field. I hit him up whenever I need him. I text him. I meet up with him and we just talk. Not just on the field, but off the field, emotionally and in video rooms. How to break down my defender. Knowing the defense and what they'll be doing. He's been a great help for me. He's my big brother.
HH: Have you had a chance to speak to Jay Gruden yet and how do you feel about playing under his system?
KC: Yeah, I ‘m excited about it. (He) should be a guy who knows a lot about quarterbacking and I've got a lot to learn from him. I'm real excited to be able to learn as much as I can from him.
HH: How do you feel about the addition of Andre Roberts and what do you think he'll bring (to the offense)?
KC: As a quarterback, I'm only as good as the guys around me. To pick up a guy like that should really help us because he can do a lot of different things. He can play in the slot. He can play outside. He's got good experience. From the little bit I've talked to him, he seems to know a lot about the game of football. So all that combined he should be a real benefit to us.
That was it for the interviews and we then moved on to the game. Here were some of my tweets describing the action:
First Skins team dunk of the game: Panthers Greg Hardy.Unexpected player Wale showed up and playing somePG for the Skins #BattleoftheBeltway— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Score Team Smith: 22, Team Kerrigan 20 at the end of the 1st quarter. Greg Hardy Skins Team MVP so far.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Kirk Cousins with the assist to Darrell Green for the bucket. Score tied at 27— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
DHall drains a three from long range. Skins up 35-29. Under three minutes to go in the first half.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Halftime 37-29 Skins. Tyrod Taylor and Terrell Suggs are unhappy with the foul calls and are working on the refs.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Torrey Smith speaking at halftime with Ryan Kerrigan watching. Two great guys here for a great cause. pic.twitter.com/hsHxiRWHlz— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Torre Smith opens up the 2nd half with a crowd rousing dunk. Greg Little responds with a three on the other side. 40-31 Skins— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Greg Hardy just stuffed Tyrod Taylor going to the bucket. Led to breakaway lay up for Dez Briscoe on the other side. Skins up 48-35— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Team Ravens with a comeback- Tyrod Taylor had three consecutive buckets near the end of the third. Score tied 48 all.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Gurley opened the fourth with a reverse dunk. Follows it up with a nice tip in. Score tied 52— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Tyrod Taylor sets up Gurley for another dunk. 57-52 Ravens now. Gurley owning this right now— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
DHall with a put back- score tied 59-up with 1 minute to go— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
End of regulation- Score tied on a goal tending call for the Ravens after Greg Hardy had a block for the Skins. 2 min overtime— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Ravens get the last shot-Jacoby Jones with the put back for the win. 63-61 Ravens - final— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
Post game shots with MVP's Gurley and Hall. pic.twitter.com/Y2ICblp9Jv
— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) March 29, 2014
The whole night was a lot of fun and and raised some great awareness for the two charities. For more information on the Torrey Smith Foundation, visit http://torreysmith.org. To check out the Blitz for the Better Foundation, go to http://ryankerrigan.org.