NEW YORK – DeVonta Smith only needed two years in the NFL to put his name in the conversation of the best wide receivers in the league. So what is there to try in the third year?
«You definitely want to go out there and make me more valuable. Going higher is what I’m saying,» Smith told Fox News Digital on the way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to follow up with a video shoot with VRST, the clothing brand offered exclusively in Articles. Dick’s sports.
Smith’s stock was already high after he broke the Philadelphia Eagles rookie receiving yards record with 916 on 64 receptions. He followed that up with 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 receptions last season as the Eagles’ offense demolished most of their competition en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
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Junior year is generally the leap year for NFL players, who needed the first two to fully acclimate to the league.
Not for Smith though. He wasted no time in his rookie season.
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Instead, he wants to follow what his good friend and teammate, Jalen Hurts, experienced in his third season.
It is a contract year.
«This is the third year, that leap year, coming up in that contract year,» Smith said. «For me, I get it.
«But, at the end of the day, I’m here playing the game, doing my job, doing the things I’m supposed to do. Everything else will take care of itself.»
Smith was happy for Hurts when he got paid this offseason. General manager Howie Roseman gave Hurts a five-year, $255 million extension to show the franchise’s commitment to its quarterback after a terrific third season.
Smith thought the same thing when fellow catcher AJ Brown came to the Eagles and received an extension on the spot. He was traded by the Tennessee Titans after his third season, and Roseman wasted no time in giving him a four-year, $100 million contract extension, more than half of which is guaranteed.
It’s hard not to want a long-term concert in Philly right now. The Eagles are poised to make another Super Bowl run with a stacked roster heading into 2023, especially with Smith and Brown at receiver.
«I mean, I’ll always bet on both of us,» Smith said with a wide smile.
«When he’s freaking out, I’m there like, ‘I need to do the same thing. I can’t let him do it alone.'» I want to feel like I’m also helping the team. So, that was something we always ran into like, ‘Yeah kid, today is your day. You are going to eat well today. I’m just here cutting grass.’
«But it’s all fun and games. Lots of love on both sides, watching us go out, doing the things we do. When you see a guy doing it, it just makes you want to do the same thing.»
Brown broke the Eagles single-season receiving yards record last season with 1,496 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Hurts is spreading the ball around to the point where two of his receivers are producing as No. 1 options, a scary thought for opponents.
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Smith’s relationship with Hurts is well documented. The two played at Alabama and developed their chemistry when Smith was drafted by Philly in the first round just a year after Hurts entered as a third-round pick to back up Carson Wentz.
Wanting to be the best they can be in the sport drives both the receiver and quarterback on and off the field.
«I think that’s what unites us so much,» Smith explained. «We both want to be great, and we’ll both really do whatever it takes. We don’t want to waste the grind and rush of this game. Take everything that comes with it.»
«Just wanting to be as close to perfect as possible.»
That quest for perfection is why Smith still thinks back to his final catch in the 2023 Super Bowl, when he caught a deep pass from Hurts and couldn’t keep his balance to reach the end zone, falling out of bounds. limits at the 1-yard line.
«If I got ahead and scored, we would have had more time when we had the ball on the last possession to do some things that we had to do,» Smith said, recalling the loss to the Chiefs.
As Smith thinks about that difficult result, he was still able to total 100 yards in the first Super Bowl of his career. But it’s nothing new for someone who has been in national and state championship games since his high school football days.
That pedigree and production is something the Eagles know they need long-term, even if Brown is there. And while Smith still has three years of control of the team (the Eagles can exercise his fifth-year option because he was a first-round pick), he’s confident that an even better third year could give him the long-term deal his teammates have. received in the same situation.
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Smith said he doesn’t track stats or accolades because, when asked what drives him on the football field, the answer was very simple.
«Have fun, man,» he said quickly. «The day you stop having fun, you have to stop. Just go out and have fun, enjoy it while you can because the moment the joy is gone, you have to go.»
Versatility with VRST
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told Smith and the rest of his teammates to get fit for training camp, and Smith’s morning workouts are helping with practices that will start soon.
During those workouts, Smith loves the comfort VRST offers, whether she’s rocking the Icon Tee-All In Shorts or wearing the Limitless runner to the gym or field.
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«The Icon jersey, the material on it is very soft, breathable, something that’s not too hot when you start to sweat. It’s very good for you. The All In shorts, the Limitless jogger and then this new piece, the Pinnacle Fleece It’s going to be very good.»