Bucs players mourn shooting death of Saints' Will Smith
With tragic news overnight that former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed in an argument after a traffic accident late Saturday night, Bucs players took to social media to express their grief and frustration at another gun-related death.
"Prayers to Will Smith family!!" Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wrote on Twitter. "Take nothing for granted. You never know folks. God bless his family man."
Wrote Bucs tackle Gosder Cherilus: "Another senseless act of gun violence!! This needs to stop. Prayers to the Smith family. #Saints." The Bucs' official account wrote that "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family & friends of Will Smith and the entire @Saints organization."
Smith, 34, played nine seasons with the Saints after winning a national championship at Ohio State. He led the Saints in sacks four times between 2005-09, and his 67.5 sacks rank fourth on the Saints' career list. In 18 career games against the Bucs, Smith had nine sacks -- he only had more against the Falcons (10).
Here's a full story from the New Orleans Advocate on the shooting -- a 28-year-old was booked on a second-degree murder charge. Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot twice in the leg and hospitalized. The alleged shooter pleaded guilty in 2014 to illegal carrying of a weapon and was sentenced to six months' probation.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Will and his wife Racquel, but more importantly with their children, William, Wynter and Lisa, who are suffering and just starting to realize and deal with an unimaginable loss," the Saints wrote in a statement from owners Tom and Gayle Benson and the entire organization. "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."
Said Bucs defensive tackle Akeem Spence: "Prayers sent to will smith and his family. another life took way to soon!!!" and others young enough to never play against Smith echoed the sentiments. "I'll never understand that act of senseless murder," wrote cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, who is from Columbus, Ohio. "RIP Will Smith prayers go out to him and his family."