Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

DeVonta Smith: 'The journey is not over. It's just starting'

DeVonta Smith and his daughter, Kyse
DeVonta Smith and his daughter, Kyse

Nearly three years ago, DeVonta Smith was in shock when he saw a number with a 215 area code come across his phone.

The Eagles traded up, hardly a surprise when you consider Howie Roseman's penchant for wheeling and dealing, in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft to select the Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Alabama.

Since that night, Smith has showcased why he was worth the 10th pick in the NFL Draft. In 55 regular season and playoff contests, Smith has 267 catches for 3,583 yards and 20 touchdowns. He set the franchise rookie record for receiving yards (916) and has followed that up with back-to-back 1,000-yard and 7-touchdown campaigns. In 2022, Smith briefly set the team record for most receptions in a season and capped off the year with a 100-yard performance in the Super Bowl.

His individual success is even more impressive considering that he's sharing the targets with A.J. Brown, who has been a dominant receiver in his own right with back-to-back Pro Bowl selections since arriving in Philadelphia during a draft-day trade two years ago.

"I've grown very close to (A.J.), it means a lot to be able to go out there knowing guys who have similar stories, guys who have the same passion, the dedication that we have to this game, it means a lot to just go out here and be able to continue to do it alongside of him and everyone else in this building," Smith said.

"Everybody wants to spin it this way, in that way, but you have two guys who want to be the alpha. And I feel like that's a good thing. You got two guys that are happy for each other. I mean, A.J., we talk every day. We call each other every day. We make sure that we talk on the phone every day, whether it's football, life, last night we had the kids on the phone talking, you know, babies just sitting there doing the baby talk."

But the Eagles recognized then just how good of a player Smith was at Alabama – and is today. They rewarded him with a three-year contract extension through the 2028 season, which Smith signed on Tuesday.

"It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family. All the long nights, early mornings that I've been putting in the work to get to where I am and to get to this point, it feels good to see that hard work paying off," Smith said.

But don't get it twisted.

"The journey is not over. It's just starting," he added. And he gets to do it in a place that he loves in Philadelphia.

"I understand expectations are high in the city," Smith said. "The fans, they expect a lot of you and when you're not playing up to it, they let you know, and me being the person I am, nobody is harder on me than myself. So, nothing that fans say or things like that can actually get to me. I mean, I embrace it. I embrace it because it just shows that the fans love it. They live and breathe Philly. I mean, not only us, but basketball, baseball, everything. They love it. You want to be in a city like that and I always say I don't think there's a better sports city than Philadelphia."

Smith has endeared himself to fans with his business-minded mentality, his savvy route-running skills, his penchant for ridiculous highlight-reel grabs, his low-key funny personality, and his durability. Despite being knocked in the pre-draft process for his slight 6-foot, 170-pound frame – the second question asked during his introductory virtual press conference with Philadelphia reporters was about his weight – he has missed just one game due to injury.

When he recalls Draft Night in Cleveland three years ago, Smith vividly thinks of hearing his name called and imagining the opportunity to reconnect on and off the field with quarterback Jalen Hurts. Three years later, he'll continue to do so with the same intensity and hunger that earned him the contract extension in the first place.

"You can always get better," he said. "There's no such thing as you've reached your peak. You're gonna continue to get better. You can always get better. So, as I continue to go along with my offseason, continue to look at myself and the things I've done and the things I need to get better at, we'll keep doing it."

After announcing a long-term contract extension with former first-round pick DeVonta Smith, check out the best photos from Smitty's immensely productive career with the Eagles.

Related Content