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Baltimore Ravens’s Torrey Smith on his internship for Rep. Elijah Cummings

Torrey Smith’s wish list: Win Super Bowl. Congressional internship.

The Baltimore Ravens’s wide receiver has checked off two big to-dos for 2013. February’s sweet, sweet victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the championship. And opening mail for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: In his office on Capitol Hill, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) talks about his personal experience with gun violence, Tuesday March 5, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post) Rep. Elijah Cummings (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Smith, 24, spent March working as an intern. Yes, really. He somehow kept the gig quiet. . . until Friday (his last day) when the Ravens spilled the beans on the official team website. Smith wanted to get as much of the real experience as possible and avoid a media circus, so he worked primarily in Cummings’s Baltimore office and only a couple days in D.C.

His responsibilities? “I was handling files, reading letters, relaying them, typing up what sponsors say, printing stuff,” Smith told the Raven’s Caw. “I was the office guy.” In short, typical intern stuff. “It was fun though. I enjoyed it.”

So why does an NFL millionaire suit up for the lowest job in politics? Smith wanted to do something interesting during the offseason. Something, well, not football. As a young athlete, Smith said he couldn’t wait to just play full time and leave his studies behind. But the criminal justice major at the University of Maryland has grown up and has a broader perspective: “Now that all we do is work out and you have the rest of the day, I feel like I’m limiting myself if I don’t do anything else.” (Smith did not respond to our attempts to contact him.)

Harry Swayne, the team’s director of player development, hooked him up with Cummings’s office.

And it seems that inside the NFL star lurks a political geek — or even a future elected official? The internship opened his eyes to the nuts and bolts of public service.

“You can literally call your congressman and any issue you have, they can basically point you in the right direction if they can’t help you,” he said. “I never really knew that. Being on that side and seeing how they work, it’s pretty cool. Their staff, they actually care. That says a lot when it comes to a city like Baltimore. You need people who are leaders and taking care of your area who really care.”

Cummings — no fool he — managed both to keep his celebrity intern under wraps and come out with a ringing endorsement.

“I was glad that I could offer him the opportunity,” the Democrat said in an e-mail Monday. “Torrey was eager to learn about the legislative process and was treated no differently than any of our other interns. . . I hope that this experience gave him the perspective he sought and I thank him for his work.”

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Roxanne Roberts · March 25, 2013

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