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Eagles’ DeVonta Smith has a close relationship with Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III; TE Dallas Goedert activated

As the Eagles face the Raiders, the former Alabama star receivers are still like brothers.

Kansas City Chiefs free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) gets his hands on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) during the first quarter Sunday, October 3, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Kansas City Chiefs free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) gets his hands on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) during the first quarter Sunday, October 3, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

Just like any other week, Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith has spent a few hours each night chatting with former Alabama teammate and current Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.

Leading up to Sunday’s Week 7 contest involving both of their teams at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, football has hardly been a topic of conversation.

For Smith and Ruggs, it’s all about the relationship forged while they were roommates and receivers at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

“That’s my brother from another mother,” Smith said in a news conference Thursday. “This is what we dreamed of, being able to play against each other in the NFL.

“Now we’re here.”

Smith maintains his relationship with Ruggs through communicating while playing video games. The two play NBA 2K on a nightly basis with other former teammates and friends. Smith is also part of several group chats involving former Alabama players.

Other notable receivers from Smith’s time at Alabama who’ve made it to the league include the Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy and the Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle.

“Knowing we’re both here, we both have been working for this moment. It’s about seeing each other and being excited for each other,” Smith said.

“Everything was a competition, not just between me and Ruggs, but the whole wide receiver room. Who had the best catches? Who ran the best routes? Who had no dropped passes? Everything was a competition. Even the GPS tracking, everything was a competition for us.”

Smith is coming off a loss to the Buccaneers last Thursday in which the No. 10 pick from last April’s draft garnered a season-low four targets from quarterback Jalen Hurts. Despite the drop in production, Smith’s rookie campaign is off to a relatively hot start.

He’s clearly the team’s most talented wideout and has backed the hype that comes with being the reigning Heisman Trophy Award winner. Smith leads the Eagles in receptions (27) and receiving yards (345). His catches are the second-most by an NFL rookie receiver, trailing only Waddle’s 37.

Smith joked about tipping off teammate Darius Slay on some of Ruggs’ habits, particularly his tendency to run post routes when lined up in bunch formation.

Asked who’s the better route runner, Smith showed no hesitation.

“Me, I’m going to take that,” he said.

» READ MORE: Follow the Eagles-Raiders game as it happens on GameDay Central, with in-game comments from The Inquirer’s writers, photos, and more

Goedert activated from COVID-19/reserve list

The Eagles activated tight end Dallas Goedert from the COVID-19/reserve list.

Goedert, 26, missed last Thursday’s game, and his absence allowed Zach Ertz to star in the No. 1 tight end role one final time before the Eagles traded Ertz away to the Cardinals the following day.

With Ertz gone, Goedert is expected to takeover as the team’s featured tight end.

Goedert was listed as “did not participate” with an illness in Thursday’s injury report, but he did work out to the side at the beginning of practice. Goedert ran individual routes and went through several conditioning drills, signaling his ramp-up period as he prepares to return to team activities.

His status for Sunday’s game is uncertain, but Goedert took a step in the right direction by returning to the field.

He’s expected to address the media Friday, which will be the first time Goedert speaks to reporters following Ertz’s departure. Goedert is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season.

“In terms of our bargaining power, there’s going to be no discount on Dallas Goedert,” general manager Howie Roseman said last week. “We want to get as much information and give him as much opportunity to take over.”