YahooSports- Longtime New Orleans Saints standout Will Smith, one of the most beloved players in recent franchise history, was shot and killed Saturday night. It happened when his car was hit buy another vehicle and the other driver reportedly shot Smith in what police are calling a road rage incident, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Katherine Terrell.
The coroner's office has confirmed Smith's death.
“We are devastated and saddened by Will’s tragic and preventable death due to a senseless act that will leave a lasting scar on our community forever,” Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement. “Will was more than an exceptional football player he was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and teammate to so many and an inspiration to countless more. He will be greatly missed by all those he touched and impacted both on and off the football field and his legacy will continue to shine. The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon.”
I am going to be honest, this doesn't even seem real as I write it. It feels like they are going to further research the man that was senselessly murdered over a goddamn traffic accident and come back to tell us that the deceased is someone - no - anyone other than Will Smith. I suppose that wouldn't make it less tragic, but it would make it more sensical, because the lives of our most celebrated athletes aren't supposed to end prematurely like this. Disease maybe. Old age preferably. But a road rage incident? A FUCKING ROAD RAGE INCIDENT?!? That's not even something that's supposed to happen in real life. Will Smith was a major figure in New Orleans Saints history. Not even in soap operas are characters that played as important of a role as Will Smith supposed to be so callously disposed of.
I always say that I'll never forget that 2009 team, but I wasn't supposed to have to put so much into the remembrance of one of it's most essential members so soon. He wasn't just a Super Bowl champion, but one of the few players that helped revive the franchise following the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. A greatly productive player turned an unshakable veteran leader. A professional in every sense of the word. One of the main reasons the transition to the Sean Payton era went so smoothly and was eventually responsible for bringing New Orleans it's first Lombardi Trophy. A positive fixture in the community whose life was so recklessly taken by such an inexplicable act in said community. You know that "plan" you always hear people talk about when they lose someone close to them? I couldn't be more certain that this wasn't part of it.
My prayers go out to the entirety of Will Smith's family - mainly his wife and three children. My prayers go out to beloved former Saint Pierre Thomas who was reportedly with him just prior to this catastrophe occurring. My prayers go out to the New Orleans Saints organization that just lost one of their most loyal ambassadors - on and off the field - to a mindless act of violence. He may be gone - even though that still hasn't completely set in yet - but everything he stood for and everything he accomplished will never, ever be forgotten. Rest easy, Fresh Prince...