CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith, whose girlfriend was recently killed in a crash on I-90, said he will play on Monday night in the game against the New York Jets, according to a spokesperson on his behalf.
“I am going to play tonight because it is something, she would want me to do. She would want me to keep doing what I love and stay strong. I play for her tonight. She is my why.”
Petara Cordero, Smith's girlfriend and mother to their 4-week-old daughter, was killed when another vehicle driven by a 47-year-old woman who admitted to drinking struck her as she stood in the north shoulder of I-90 westbound. Both Smith and Cordero were standing outside the vehicle when she was struck.
Over the weekend, Smith paid tribute to Cordero in an Instagram post.
"God has a plan for all of us we can’t understand but she is in a better place now and she can rest easy. My wifey my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter. Love you baby," he said the post.
Since the news of her death, the Browns organization and the entire team have circled around Smith, offering support in any way possible.
During a news conference last week, head coach Freddie Kitchens took a moment to address the situation, calling it "an emotional time" for everyone.
“We are going to support Chris. He’s a great dude. Good in the locker room. We are going to support him, and our hearts and prayers go out to him, his family, her family. Really sad.”