Wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Eagles first-round draft pick and a social worker’s son from Amite, La., signed a guaranteed four-year, $20.1-million contract with a fifth-year option Thursday, but he said he had no big plans for his rookie earnings.
“Just put it in the bank,” Smith said.
NFL rookie signings are a foregone conclusion these days, since the collective bargaining agreement slots rookie contracts, so Smith’s deal, nearly two months before training camp, was not a surprise. The Eagles also announced the signings of three more of their nine draftees Thursday: third-round defensive tackle Milton Williams, fourth-round corner Zech McPhearson, and fifth-round running back Kenneth Gainwell.
“This is what I’ve been working for ... but ultimately, I’m not playing this just to get one contract,” said Smith, who was drafted 10th overall. “I expect to get many more contracts ... ultimately it comes down to just me working. If I keep working the way I’ve been working and handle my business, then that time will come.”
Smith seems like a serious sort, as 22-year-old athletes go. He has been in Philadelphia nearly a month now, but he said he isn’t “a going-out-type guy.” He’s been following the Sixers’ playoff run on TV, hasn’t been to any games, he said. (Whoever’s in charge of the bell-ringing lineup down at Wells Fargo -- hint, hint!)
Asked what he’s learned since arriving, Smith said: “I’ve learned that I’m still growing more. I’ve gotten out of my shell kind of quick, so it was just like, I can be somebody that interacts with people a lot, that’s not going to just always be to himself.”
Smith was not considered particularly outgoing at Alabama.
“I feel like it mostly goes to just my teammates, just the way they’ve accepted me and just how comfortable they’ve made me feel,” he said. “I’ve learned that I don’t have to always be this person that’s just in his shell.”
Smith said it took him a lot longer to get comfortable at Alabama. He said he’s older now and realizes “you have to be able to step outside your comfort zone to be able to do the things that you want to do.”
The Eagles have a young wideout room; the oldest member is Greg Ward, who turns 26 next month. Smith said he doesn’t feel leadership is a problem.
“I feel like we all lead in a different way, everybody has their way of leading, but ultimately, if anybody has a question about anything, we just say it out loud in the room. Whoever has the answer, they answer it,” he said.
Organized team activities conclude Friday. After that, Smith doesn’t have to be back at NovaCare until July 27, but he said he has no big plans for the down time.
“Just be training ... just continue to grind,” he said.