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DeVonta Smith talks ‘tough’ week dealing with Henry Ruggs news ahead of Chargers game

The Eagles’ WR said his teammates really helped him get through a tough week.

Eagles WR DeVonta Smith and former Raiders WR Henry Ruggs joined the Alabama roster at the same time in 2017, and were teammates and position-mates for three years with the Crimson Tide. When news broke of Ruggs causing a tragic accident earlier this week, Smith was understandably affected, but was able to push through thanks to the support of his teammates.

Nick Sirianni wouldn’t speak for Smith following Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, but the Eagles WR spoke to reporters shortly after his head coach and talked a bit about the situation and how he was able to compartmentalize when he took the field.

“First of all, my heart breaks for everyone involved, the family of the young lady that lost her life. It was hard at the beginning, but just coming in everyday, being with the guys, they kind of gathered with me, helped me out a lot. So, I mean, at the beginning of the week it was tough, but eventually the guys helped me get through it.”

Smith went on to say that he played with a bigger purpose on Sunday knowing that his brother isn’t able to. He noted that he spoke to Ruggs and talked about everything.

“I talked to him. We discussed everything. He’s in good spirits, I mean, I’m just glad that he’s himself, he’s gotten himself together, and he’s not just down on himself.”

Once Smith got on the field, however, he knew he had to focus on the task at hand and everything else kind of slips away and he has a separate head space when he’s playing. The WR wouldn’t say that Sunday’s game against the Chargers was his best yet, pointing out he still has some things to clean up, but that he’ll watch the film and get better.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts talked to reporters a short time after Smith, and was asked how the WR handled the week despite the emotional toll.

“Obviously, I have a lot of love for DeVonta. Love him like a brother. I have a lot of love for Henry Ruggs as well, love him like a brother, Alabama brother. It’s tough for all of us to experience what we experienced this week, how tragic of a situation it was. But, we’re all warriors, and we all see it through. I think DeVonta made some big time plays today, and he’ll continue to do that for us.”

As for the missed touchdown opportunity just before halftime, Smith took ownership of the mistake, saying it was a dummy check at the line and he stumbled a little bit in his route. Had he not stumbled, he believed he would’ve been where he was supposed to be in order for Hurts to complete that touchdown pass.