Steve Smith Sr. defends Breshad Perriman: Injury out of WR's control

ByJamison Hensley ESPN logo
Sunday, June 12, 2016

ABERDEEN, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.'s initial reaction to Breshad Perriman's injury was filled with emotion.

He spoke out against anyone who wants to label Perriman as a bust or soft after the former first-round pick partially tore his ACL in his left knee last week. Perriman also missed all of 2015 after spraining his posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"The first thing that comes to my mind is all the bulls--- ass people that are going to have their comments about he's this and he's that," Smith told ESPN before the Lardarius Webb charity softball game Sunday. "The injuries he sustained are not injuries [Ravens general manager] Ozzie Newsome saw coming. These are not injuries that you can control. These aren't training injuries.

"These aren't injuries where he's not strong enough or not tough enough. When you slightly tear anything, that requires a lot of treatment and possibly surgery. I feel bad for him as a man because you're going to hear all the naysayers who weren't there, who didn't see what happened and don't really understand you can't control injuries."

Perriman was hurt catching the ball on a fade pattern in Thursday's offseason training activities, the source said. It was a non-contact injury.

Wide receiver Kamar Aiken doesn't think Perriman knew anything was wrong because he finished practice. It wasn't until Friday when Perriman noticed swelling and underwent an MRI, a source said.

"It was a freak accident," Aiken said. "There is no other way to explain it."

Perriman never had a significant injury at Central Florida, playing 39 games in three seasons. His durability was graded above average by scouts.

Smith is hoping Perriman can avoid the career path of Sylvester Morris, the No. 21 overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefsin 2000 whose career was cut short by repeated knee injuries. Morris caught 48 passes in his only season in the NFL.

"When young guys get severe injuries like this early in their career, it takes a lot because usually these are guys who really haven't sustained injuries a lot," Smith said. "I feel bad for him because all the people are going to comment as if he has some type of control. You don't get to pick your injuries."

Perriman's teammates repeatedly expressed their support for him Sunday. Many only heard about his injury Saturday night and Sunday as news circulated among the team.

"I'm fully confident when he gets back healthy, it'll flip," Aiken said. "Right now, it's just been tough his first two years. I hope people don't label him as a guy who gets injured. He's had a rough first two years. It's nothing he could've done to change that."

Last year's season-ending injury took a toll on Perriman, who sunk into what he described as a "dark hole." He started not returning his parents' phone calls, and coach John Harbaugh found it difficult to talk to him.

Ravens players wanted to let Perriman know that they're with him.

"We're going to support him to the end," running back Justin Forsett said. "The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. So, we just want to make him know that he's a part of this team and we still need him. It's unfortunate but hopefully it's just a minor setback for a major comeback."