PHILADELPHIA – DeVonta Smith was asked on June 3, shortly after signing his rookie contract that is guaranteed to pay him $20.1 million over the next four years, if he had any plans for the money.
“Nah, just put it in the bank, that’s about it,” he replied.
He gave no indication of what, three weeks later, was to come.
Perhaps it was a surprise, and what a surprise it was.
Smith revealed on his Instagram account on Thursday that he purchased a house for his mom, Christine Smith-Sylve.
“This is what I’ve been working for,” said Smith earlier this month. “Ultimately, I’m not done. I’m not playing this just to get one contract. I expect to get many more contracts coming. It ultimately comes down to me working. If I keep working the way I’ve been working and handling my business, ultimately that time will come.”
Here is the video of Smith giving his mom the house:
Clearly, Smith has not forgotten his roots, which were planted in the Southeastern Louisiana area of Amite City, where his mother worked as a social worker that sometimes put her in harrowing situations.
“Any time she was going to go out and do something with work, I always asked if I could come,” said Smith in an early May interview. “…The job she was doing, she was going into family’s houses and taking their children away from them.
"It’s not always the easiest job. I heard things that happened, and it wasn’t so safe. So that wasn’t something that you wanted your mother to be in, just to be in a situation like that.”
Watching his mother put herself in dire situations at times, and sometimes seeing her get called out of the house in the middle of the night to handle a troublesome situation, helped shape Smith.
“I think it made me a better son, just because knowing the things that go on in other people’s households, I just didn’t want to put my mom in a situation like that,” he said.
“So, I always tried to do the right thing. I always tried to be on the right path. When I was younger, I wasn’t always the perfect child. I was in trouble a lot, but I always tried my best to keep her out of situations like that.”
Meanwhile, Smith is likely busy working out in preparation for the start of Eagles training camp at the end of July and building on what he learned during spring’s OTAs.
"I’m still growing more,” said Smith when asked what he learned during OTAs. “I kind of gotten out of my shell kind of quick. I can be someone that interacts with people a lot, that’s not going to just always be to himself.
“Mostly, it goes to my teammates, the way they accepted me and how comfortable they made me feel. I learned that I don’t always have to be this person in his shell.”
He added that the adjustment to the game was quicker at Alabama because he was younger, but now that he’s older, he understands that “you have to be able to step outside your comfort zone to be able to do what you want to do.”
If Smith makes the adjustment to the NFL the way many expect he will, there might be other gifts for his mother in the future.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.