All Business For DeVonta Smith as NFL Debut Nears

The Eagles first-round pick had fun in college. Now it's about business.
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Getting over 100,000 of your closest friends together is fun.

The NFL? 

That's a business, according to Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who is set to make his professional debut Sunday (1 p.m. FOX) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is already familiar with those surroundings. It's where he caught the game-winning touchdown as a freshman in the National Championship Game and it's also where he spent his downtime after the league's new scaled-back preseason by watching his alma mater kick off its now annual domination tour by trouncing Miami, 44-13.

It wasn't quite the 101,821 that can be crammed into Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa but Smith was enjoying life while watching many former teammates beat up on another presumed college powerhouse.

The next time he steps into Atlanta, it's a business trip.

"This is a business, and you have to carry yourself the correct way,” the electric WR said at his media availability Monday.

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Two days earlier, Smith was reliving national championships while firing up the Crimson Tide fans and making predictions on the SEC Network.

A more stoic Smith Monday brought to mind the NFL's reputation as the so-called "No Fun League," a sentiment Smith wanted to walk back at least a little bit.

“You can have fun in business,” Smith said. “Football is a business, but it’s fun, too. No matter what you’re doing, you like to have fun and everything that you are doing. It can be a business, and it can be fun."

The fun at the professional level comes the same way Smith got it at Alabama - by winning.

It's just a little bit more difficult in the NFL where parity replaces blowouts.

And to do that consistently everyone has to fit into their role.

“Coach (Nick) Sirianni just had a meeting; it was all about people playing a role. So whatever my role is, embrace it and that’s my role,” Smith said.

On the surface, that role is going to be an extensive one for a 22-year-old rookie: the WR1 on a team that has struggled to get any production from the position over the past two seasons.

And Smith's impact on the game is supposed to make things easier on the Eagles' other young receivers, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins.

“We just talked today about embracing our role on the team,” Sirianni said. “What is your role? Embrace your role and DeVonta is going to have a big role on this team."

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-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at or and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.