DeVonta Smith, Jalen Hurts feel pain for Henry Ruggs III
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — DeVonta Smith had his best all-around game playing with a heavy heart.
The Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver caught five passes for 116 yards and one touchdown in a 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday after an emotional week.
Smith is a close friend of former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, who was arrested for a crash that claimed the life of a woman and her dog Tuesday night. Ruggs was released hours later by the Raiders.
“My heart breaks for everybody involved, the family and the young lady that lost her life,” said Smith, who played with Ruggs at Alabama. “It was rough in the beginning, but being with the guys helped me through it.”
It was the second 100-yard game for Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy last season and was selected with the 10th overall draft pick by Philadelphia.
“It kinda gave me a bigger purpose, playing for my brother knowing he can’t play right now,” Smith said.
Jalen Hurts played with Smith and Ruggs before transferring to Oklahoma. He also had a difficult week processing the tragedy.
“I love DeVonta Smith like a brother. I love Henry Ruggs like a brother,” Hurts said. “It’s tough for all of us to experience what happened this week, how tragic of a situation it was.”
Hurts and Smith did their part but the Eagles (3-6) couldn’t pull out a home win for rookie coach Nick Sirianni. He’s 0-4 in Philly.
Hurts finished 11 of 17 for 162 yards and one TD and also ran for 62 yards.
“He was a big-time stud,” Sirianni said of his second-year quarterback. “He just was really composed in a tight situation. That’s what you want out of your quarterbacks. That’s what I’ve seen out of good quarterbacks in my past.
“So, we definitely have to build on this. There is no secret. Jalen has had good practices the last two weeks, played two good games in a row, so we just have to go back and have another week like we did last week, offensively, to put ourselves in position to win next week.”
One of Hurts’ best throws was a 28-yard strike to Smith, who caught the ball at the Chargers 7 and raced into the end zone, stretching to cross the goal line.
“Every time I get the ball in my hands, my intentions are to score,” Smith said. “So, I was there and then I got in.”
Smith had a few drops the previous three games and only caught eight passes combined.
“I can still grow,” he said. “I think there are some things that I could have done better. Just continuing to attack, watch the film and get better from it. Just small mistakes, me not looking the ball all the way in and not concentrating. The whole week, I just focused on concentrating on the ball and looking it all the way in.”
Smith said he has reached out to Ruggs, who was driving 156 mph with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit in Nevada at the time of the crash.
“We discussed everything,” Smith said. “He’s in good spirits. I’m glad he’s himself, he’s gotten himself together, he’s not just down on himself.”
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