Certainly, the moment isn’t going to be too big for Smith, who won the National Championship on a team basis and won the Heisman Trophy on an individual basis at Alabama. He has been in the spotlight for years, so opening an NFL season, while it’s likely to bring with it excitement and maybe even some butterflies, is going to be just another game for Smith.
“DeVonta is going to have a big role on this team,” Sirianni said. “We talk about that all the time. We talked about that today and one of the things we talk about with the team a lot is, ‘What are the things that are going to prevent you from getting better every single day?’ That is the goal at the end of the day, is to continue to make these gains of getting better every single day, because that’s going to lead you to where you want to go. Staying level-headed, know that you have to come to work every single day, regardless of what you did the day before. That’s also similar to what we talk about when we talk about ‘dog mentality.’ I think the players know that. Smith? You never know, other than he’s going to be a factor.
Smith is part of one of the youngest groups of wide receivers the Eagles have had in many years and while expectations are kept personal from the players and coaches, it’s fair to say that the fans can’t wait to watch him on a full-time basis. For Smith? Do his job. That’s the bottom line.
“Just play my role,” Smith said. “Coach (Nick) Sirianni, we just had a meeting and it was all about people just playing their role. So, whatever my role is, embrace it and play my role.”
“It’s a business. You’ve got to carry yourself the right way. One mistake and things can not go the way you want them to go,” Smith said. “It’s a business and you have to carry yourself the correct way.”
He isn’t looking ahead. He isn’t taking the day out of context. For DeVonta Smith, Sunday represents the first game that counts in what everyone hopes is a long and successful NFL career. Other than that?
“I can only control what I can control,” he said.
And that’s that. The wide receiver who doesn’t say a lot will let his play do the talking. In the business of the NFL, that’s all that matters.
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