The Ravens were in the second day of their "Expanded Roles" minicamp, and Troy Smith was doing what he has never wanted to do at the NFL level: expand his role beyond the quarterback position.
Smith lined up at wide receiver and made a couple of nice catches, one in particular at the expense of his former high school teammate, Ravens safety Haruki Naka-mura.
"In high school, he actually played receiver sometimes," Nakamura said. "He can play wide receiver. You can tell he's a natural athlete."
That's no great secret, but Smith would rather keep his original Ravens job description. He came here as a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and doesn't seem terribly interested in morphing into Kordell Stewart or any skills player on last season's Miami Dolphins roster.
"Well, it's expanded role camp," Smith said. "Definitely, when they put you in a situation where you get a chance to do something different and expand your role, you just step up and rise to the occasion."
He did just that on several downfield routes Tuesday. He also threw the ball well and ran like a slick tailback. Smith is the guy you automatically think of when somebody trots out the old cliche about versatility being a curse.
There doesn't seem to be any doubt he could help the team in a varied role. That much was pretty obvious as he snatched those balls out of the air in close coverage.
"I don't know if Troy likes to do that," starting quarterback Joe Flacco said, "but he's a pretty good athlete, and he's capable of doing that."
It might not matter what Smith likes because this is the NFL, and you pretty much do what the head coach and offensive coordinator tell you to do. And it sounded Tuesday like coach John Harbaugh wasn't just putting him out there for laughs.
"Troy looked good," Harbaugh said. "He made a nice catch over the middle. Without making a big, huge story out of it, I'm quite sure Troy will be lined up in some different places this year."
This is not a new concept. Coordinator Cam Cameron is constantly adding new wrinkles to his offense, and there were times last season when Smith was behind center and Flacco was split wide. The question now is whether we're talking about a more dramatic role change for Smith this season with Cameron protege John Beck joining the team and competing for the backup quarterback job.
Smith obviously hopes not, but he has to know the score by now. Barring some unforeseen developments, he's not going to training camp as the starting quarterback, so the team is looking for ways to get him as many snaps as possible.
"I'm not opposed to it," he said. "I didn't get here catching balls. ... I play quarterback. That's what I do. I guess sometimes when you're blessed to a certain extent to do different things, the power of the pen and pad takes over."
If the point wasn't already made, he proceeded down a long list of Ravens receivers who will be hoping to get playing time this season but are not taking part in this minicamp.
"When those guys aren't here," Smith said, "you've got to fill the void."
If you've been paying attention for the past year or so, you can't help feeling a bit sorry for Smith. He appeared to be ahead of Flacco on the depth chart when Kyle Boller got hurt in August, but he came down with a serious throat infection that prevented him from stepping into the starting role. By the time he recovered and was ready to return to action, Flacco had established himself as the starter - a year ahead of schedule.
Now, Smith has to get his reps where he can find them. He remains confident that he can be a successful NFL starting quarterback if the opportunity should arise, but stops short of advocating a change of scenery.
"The thing about it is, being a part of this organization has made me who I am so far," Smith said. "We don't think about things like that. This team is what's most important right now, and that's the way it's handled.
"Coming from where I come from in Ohio - Columbus and Cleveland - it's about taking care of business with the task at hand. Everything in front of you is the most important thing. All of that stuff on the side will take care of itself. What's most important now is the Baltimore Ravens."
Listen to Peter Schmuck weeknights at 6 on WBAL (1090 AM) and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.