Eagles’ DeVonta Smith: ‘Heart breaks’ for all involved in Henry Ruggs’ deadly car crash
Smith is very close with former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and tried to clear his mind after an emotional week.
DeVonta Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is a budding star in the NFL.
The Eagles wideout and No. 10 draft pick from April’s draft put together one of his best performances of the season Sunday versus the Chargers in a 27-24 loss. Smith finished with five catches, a game-high 116 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Following the game, Smith discussed his emotions.
Earlier in the week, former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III — Smith’s college roommate at Alabama — was involved in a deadly car crash in Las Vegas. Ruggs is facing four felony charges, including driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving.
Prosecutors said Ruggs was driving 156 mph and had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit in Nevada, when his Corvette Stingray struck the back of a Toyota RAV4 in a collision that left 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog dead.
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“My heart breaks for everybody involved, the family of the young lady that lost her life,” Smith said. “It was rough at the beginning of the week. But just coming in every day, being with the guys, they helped me out a lot. It was tough, but eventually the guys helped me get through it. Everybody lifted me up. The whole team.”
Just two weeks ago — leading up to the Week 6 matchup involving the Eagles and Raiders — Smith called Ruggs his “brother from another mother.”
Smith said Sunday: “Going out there and playing for my brother even though he can’t play — it gave me a bigger purpose to go out there. ... Once I got on the field, [that feeling] kind of went away. I knew I had a task at hand, and I had to focus on football.”
On Wednesday, first-year coach Nick Sirianni said he addressed the Ruggs incident with the entire team during a meeting. Smith wasn’t made available to reporters during the week.
Smith acknowledged Sunday that he has been in contact with Ruggs, who was released on $150,000 bail.
“I talked to him,” Smith said. “We discussed everything. He’s in good spirits. I’m just glad he’s himself. He’s gotten himself together, and he’s not just down on himself.”
Through eight games, Smith leads the Eagles with 38 catches and 537 receiving yards. His 28-yard touchdown reception tied the game in the fourth quarter versus the Chargers. The score marked the second touchdown of Smith’s young career.
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But the offense never touched the field again as the Chargers won on a last-second field goal.
“I have a lot of love for DeVonta,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “I love him like a brother. I have a lot of love for Henry Ruggs, as well. I love him like a brother. My ‘Bama brothers. It’s tough for all of us to experience what we experienced this week and how tragic of a situation it was. But we’re all warriors, and we all see it through.”
Hurts concluded: “DeVonta made some big time plays today. He’ll continue to do that for us.”