New Eagles receiver Torrey Smith says he hasn't lost a step

New Eagles receiver Torrey Smith says he hasn't lost a step

New Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith is just as fast as ever. 

Just ask him. 

"Absolutely," Smith said before he broke into a smile at his Friday afternoon press conference at the NovaCare Complex. "You wanna race? We can go do it. 

"All jokes aside, I can still run. I haven't lost a step. I think because I was a part of an organization in Baltimore and 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. I'm ready to roll." 

The out-of-shape reporter who fired the question to Smith turned down the challenge, but it's pretty safe to say Smith would have smoked him. 

The real question is whether Smith will be able to smoke opposing cornerbacks in 2017. 

After all, that's what the Eagles desperately lacked last season. They had just six passes go for 40-plus yards. Since he entered the league in 2011, Smith has 25 receptions of 40-plus yards. Just six players have had more. Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman was quick to point out that while Smith is a downfield threat, he's also 6-foot, 205 pounds. 

When he came out in the 2011 draft, Smith ran a 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest time for a receiver that year. And he thinks he still has top-end speed six years later. 

Smith comes to the Eagles on a three-year deal that's reportedly structured in a way that makes it more like a one-year deal with two team options. It's not hard to figure out why that's the type of deal Smith needed to sign. 

After signing a huge five-year, $40 million deal to go to San Francisco just two years ago, Smith's production dropped dramatically and he was cut this offseason. Smith caught 33 passes for 663 yards and four touchdowns in 2015. But then in 2016, he caught just 20 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, all career lows.

"There was a lot of reasons for it, but only one I can control, so I'll just say me," he said. "But I'll just tell you this: I haven't lost a step and I can still play. So don't be surprised."

While he tried to hide it some on Friday, the last two seasons were tough years for Smith. He had two head coaches and the 49ers didn't feature him in their offense. 

He admitted it was frustrating to have just 103 targets in his two seasons by the Bay. The fewest he ever had in a single season in Baltimore was 92. 

"I probably grew as a player due to those frustrations, experiencing those type of failures because I didn't do what I needed to do," he said. "And I didn't play the way I needed to play. And I take full responsibility for that but it helped me be better while I'm sitting here talking to you now. I'll be ready for whatever comes my way."

There were a few reasons Smith decided to come to Philadelphia. First, he's extremely familiar with vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and assistant director of player personnel Andy Weidl. Both were in the Ravens' organization when Baltimore drafted Smith in the second round out of Maryland. 

Smith said that familiarity was a reason he came to the Eagles because he's confident the team is moving in the right direction. 

"Torrey's a player I've had my eye on ever since his Maryland days," Douglas said. "We drafted him in Baltimore in the second round. I hope the city knows they're getting a resilient person, a great teammate, a person that shows up in big games when it matters most, a guy that's definitely going to help this offense, especially with taking the top off defenses." 

The other two reasons Smith cited for coming to Philadelphia were that the Eagles really wanted him (they tried to trade for him during the 2016 season) and the chance to play with Carson Wentz. Smith said he's already texted with Wentz and had a chance to meet Jordan Matthews at the facility on Friday. 

When Smith left the facility on Thursday after striking a deal, he knew there was a chance the Eagles would sign Alshon Jeffery and was pretty excited when he heard the news. 

Smith is the oldest receiver on the Eagles' roster, so he's ready to assume the role of being a veteran leader for the relatively young group outside of Jeffery. 

"One thing from [Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin], you give everything you know knowledge-wise so that that person that you're competing with can take your spot," he said, "but you work hard so it doesn't happen." 

After all, Smith hasn't lost a step. Just ask him.  

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

NFL Notes: Raiders reward Derek Carr with record $125 million deal

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr and general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted the two sides could reach a long-term contract agreement to keep the quarterback with the Raiders before Carr's self-imposed training camp deadline.

Carr was open about how much he wanted to spend his entire career with the organization and after a decade searching for a franchise quarterback the Raiders weren't about to let a player they drafted and developed leave just as he was becoming a star.

So the two sides were able to agree on a five-year, $125 million extension that makes Carr the NFL's richest player, at least temporarily, and won't hinder the team's ability to give its other young stars like AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, receiver Amari Cooper and guard Gabe Jackson new contracts before they hit free agency.

"I think that both sides wanted it to get done," Carr said Friday. "It was two family members just figuring out how to get along, and we did. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not just to take every single dime that we could."

Carr will still get plenty. The $25 million per year in new money is the richest contract ever in the NFL, beating out the $24.8 million a year Andrew Luck got from Indianapolis. That could be surpassed with Detroit's Matthew Stafford and Washington's Kirk Cousins in line for new deals soon.

But Carr is not worried about that and the Raiders are pleased to have the face of their franchise under contract through 2022 as they prepare to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

"From the outset, both sides wanted the deal done, and I felt our guys did a great job getting together and hammering it out," McKenzie said. "We both wanted the same thing. That part was easy. We could tell that Derek wanted to be here. And we let him know, without a doubt, that we wanted him here" (see full story).

NFL: Prosecutors appeal Hernandez's voided murder conviction
BOSTON -- Massachusetts prosecutors on Friday appealed a court ruling that erased former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction in the 2013 killing of a semi-professional football player.

Hernandez's conviction in the fatal shooting of Odin Lloyd was voided after the former New England Patriots player killed himself in prison. Under a long-held Massachusetts legal principle, courts typically erase the convictions of defendants who die before their direct appeals can be heard.

Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III filed an appeal with a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on Friday. He called the rule "archaic" and said it "does not serve the public interest."

"A defendant who commits suicide should not be able to manipulate the outcome of his post-conviction proceedings to achieve in death what he would not be able to achieve in life," Quinn said.

Hernandez's appellate attorneys, John Thompson and Linda Thompson, could not immediately be reached for comment. A message was left at their office in Springfield.

Hernandez took his own life in April days after he was acquitted in a separate, 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The legal principle known as abatement ab initio, or "from the beginning," holds that a conviction should not be considered final until an appeal in the criminal case can determine whether mistakes were made that deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

In their appeal Friday, prosecutors argue that some states have moved away from automatically erasing convictions when defendants die before appeals can be heard. More than a dozen states allow appeals to continue even after death and only dismiss convictions when the appellate court finds that a new trial would have been warranted.

Prosecutors said courts should strike a balance between the rights of defendants and the rights of victims. Lloyd's mother fought back tears after a judge voided Hernandez's conviction in her son's killing.

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

Michael Vick's father arrested on drug-ring charges

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The father of former pro-football star Michael Vick has been arrested on charges of being involved in a drug ring.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that federal authorities arrested 55-year-old Michael Dwayne Boddie on Thursday. A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in Newport News alleges that he and 11 others conspired to sell heroin.

Boddie is being held without bond until a Monday detention hearing. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Lawrence Woodward, an attorney who's represented both men over the years, did not respond to requests for comment. The federal prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case beyond the charges.

Vick rose to stardom with the Atlanta Falcons before serving prison time for running a dogfighting operation. He played for the Eagles, Jets and Steelers before announcing his retirement in February.