"It Means a Lot to Me" - DeVonta Smith Surprised Eagles Teammates Voted him Captain
The Philadelphia Eagles announced their 2023 team captains on Tuesday. Seven were unsurprisingly re-elected by their fellow players, but two new names were also added to the list: wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.
Smith, who is entering just his third NFL season, wasn’t expecting the honor:
“I was surprised. It was a shock to me.”
-DeVonta Smith on finding out he was voted a captain by his teammates
“It means a lot to me. It lets me know I’m doing things the right way.”
He says he is a lead by example leader and not very vocal. You could’ve guessed that! pic.twitter.com/pWLubUDryq
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 6, 2023
Smith’s focus on the caliber of the other men in the group speaks volumes about his character and about why his teammates chose him. While he isn’t one of the most vocal players on the team (in fact, he’s pretty infamously non-vocal), his leadership style is clearly effective. Fellow first-time captain A.J. Brown said as much, via Chris McPherson at the Eagles’ website.
“DeVonta is the guy who don’t really talk as much, but leads by example by how he works and I think those leaders are just as important,” Brown said. “He doesn’t have to say nothing. He just lines up and goes to work. Those are really important leaders as well.”
Even though he might not say a lot, Smith’s teammates take note of his work ethic and his humility and follow the example he sets. When asked about Brown and Smith’s promotions, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni acknowledged the importance of the moment for the two new captains:
“Really happy for all the guys voted captain because it just says so much about them and what their teammates think about them. Obviously, get really excited for the guys that are going to wear the C on their chest for the first time this year. It doesn’t surprise me at all because A.J. and DeVonta have special leadership qualities and play tremendous football, and they lead in their own way. So I’m just really happy for them… I love being able to give good news out, and I was able to do that there.”
Sirianni also shed a little light on how he announced the team captains, adding that he made it extra special for Brown and Smith specifically:
“I waited until our team meeting… I announced the offensive captains and put Jason [Kelce] and Lane [Johnson] and Jalen [Hurts] up. And announced the defensive captains and put Brandon [Graham] and Fletch [Fletcher Cox] and [Darius] Slay up. The special teams captains, and put Jake [Elliott] up. I paused, right. And then I went into the two new captains.”