If you’ve heard DeVonta Smith in an interview since the Eagles drafted him with the No. 10 pick this spring, you probably thought he was just a soft-spoken, introverted kid.
In a way, you’re right.
But then after the Eagles’ first win of the season, a post-game video surfaced with a shirtless Smith dancing through his teammates during a celebration after the 32-6 win.
“That’s Smitty,” Jalen Reagor said. “Y’all see DeVonta. We see Smitty.”
Over the past few months, Smith has been coming out of his shell more and more. He’s never going to be the loudest person in the room, but he can be silly, he can be fun and, yeah, he can dance a little bit too.
“That’s just being around the team,” Smith said. “They got me comfortable, got me out of my shell. Just being around those guys got me comfortable and they see who I am when I get comfortable around people.”
Smith, 22, said all his teammates have helped him feel comfortable and have treated him like family. Because Smith seems quiet but those who know him best say that isn’t necessarily the case.
“I”m pretty sure I’m not the only person they got out of their shell,” he said.
It sounds hokey, but when head coach Nick Sirianni lists his core values he always starts with connection. It’s something that’s really important to him.
Sirianni learned the power of connection back in his college days when he was in the hospital with a serious leg injury and legendary coach Larry Kehres showed up to visit him. Ever since then, Sirianni makes it a point to connect with his players. And he makes it a point to make sure his players connect with one another.
In general terms, the hope is that guys who are connected will play harder for one another. And the best way to connect is to let your personality shine. That’s what Smith has been doing more and more in the few months he’s been an Eagle.
Even though some of his teammates, especially those in the receiver room, know about Smith’s personality. Some were probably still surprised to see him break out in a celebratory dance on Sunday afternoon.
“Yeah, because you always think he's quiet. You think he's more of a quiet guy initially,” Sirianni said. “He's nice, got a great personality but he's very serious about football and that's great. But that's what you want to see after a game. You work hard to get to that moment, and I want him to feel great after a game like that and celebrate after that and crave to get that again. So, it was good to see DeVonta do that.”
But that dance was pretty much where the celebration ended for Smith. On Sunday night, he went home and played video games. Then he went to sleep.
Smith on Thursday was asked about his thoughts on Philadelphia as a city and he didn’t really have an answer.
“Honestly, I don’t leave my house,” Smith said. “I come here and I just go back home. So I haven’t been nowhere.”
How does Smith fill what little spare time the NFL schedule allows? Well, he lives alone so he’ll sit inside, watch film, play video games and sleep. He keeps to himself.
“That’s just how I am,” Smith said. “I don’t like being around a lot of people. I don’t like going out.”
It’s clear that Smith is mature well beyond his years and is obviously very serious about football. That much is obvious. But he’s not a robot either and it’s important for him to let his personality show.
This summer, that process was already beginning. Smith said he opened up with his teammates in Philadelphia much quicker than he did upon his arrival in Alabama as a freshman in 2017. He’s a few years older now and Smith, like Sirianni, understands the importance of connection.
Smith said his teammates with the Eagles have made it very easy for him to be himself.
Sometimes that means sitting home on a Friday night and watching film. Sometimes that means dancing through his teammates after a big win.
As far as that dance, Sirianni said he might have to learn how to do it.
“I’m willing to teach him,” Smith said, “if he wants to learn."
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