She admired Smith for his intensity and the way he took rookies under his wing. CORAL GABLES, FL- Even with Will Smith now gone, his legacy lives on. Racquel Smith, widow of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, has been seen in public for the first time since her husband was shot dead and she was shot in both legs during a late-night altercation following a traffic accident, Smith attended a casket viewing for her husband with Pierre Thomas (together left) another Saints player who claims to have witnessed Will being shot. While he was in college, Smith helped the Ohio State Buckeyes win a national championship by defeating the University of Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. 'It just saddens me that this could have been avoided.'. Also in attendance was Steve Gleason, a former Saints player diagnosed with the degenerative muscle condition ALS in 2011, who was pictured arriving in a wheelchair alongside his wife Michele. His wife Racquel, 34, was with him. Racquel Smith, who was shot in each leg in the incident that took her husband’s life, came to a visitation held at the Saints practice facility in a wheelchair. A publicist for the Smith family, Lauren Renschler, said Racquel Smith accepted the degree during a graduation ceremony in Miami. Racquel Smith was seen in a wheelchair during casket viewing for Smith at the New Orleans Saints training facility She paid her respects alongside … Chris Whitty's fury at Guardian for 'total nonsense' claim Pfizer vaccine might only be 33% effective amid fears it could threaten jab uptake, Don't blame the public for packed hospitals, urge top doctors after string of medics tell rule-breakers they have 'blood on their hands' - and number of Covid patients on ventilators hits 4,000, Proof the Pfizer Covid vaccine works in the real world? Behind the casket were three large photos of Smith playing football. Read more, Being in a pandemic, perhaps your hygiene habits just aren’t what they use to be. Very sad and senseless, I feel for the families. After being gunned down during a traffic feud, his wife, who was also shot during the altercation accepted the degree he would have accepted this weekend at the University of Miami’s commencement ceremony. "She was extremely proud of Will," she said. Harper was a teammate of Smith's for seven years on the Saints, including during their 2009 Super Bowl victory, Emotions were on display in the Saints training center where Smith's casket was laid out on Friday. Racquel Smith was shot twice in the legs during the April 9 altercation in New Orleans that killed her husband. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. The comments below have not been moderated. Click here. A private family burial and funeral service is scheduled for Saturday. Then in 2009, Smith was defensive captain on a team that went all the way to the Superbowl and won. Wheelchair History Timeline June 7, 2020 When Was the Wheelchair Invented If you’re like us, not only are you intrigued by wheelchairs, but you’re also intrigued… Smith had three children - eldest son Will Smith Jr was from a previous relationship, while daughter Lisa and youngest son Wynter were from his marriage to Racquel. Former Saints player Steve Gleason, who has a degenrative muscle condition, also attended the ceremony (right), New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle view the casket of former Saints defensive end Will Smith during a public viewing inside the team's training facility in Metairie, Louisiana, Smith died after being shot eight times on Saturday night, with seven bullets entering his back, following a car crash with murder suspect Cardell Hayes, 28, who also claims to be a fan of Smith (pictured, mourners view Smith's casket). On Friday night a march with musicians and dancers took place for Smith at the spot where he was killed, with a private family funeral on Saturday, Dotted around the practice center were pictures of Smith, his wife and his children, along with images and footage being played on TV screens of him during his days with the Saints (pictured, Smith's old jersey on display at his casket viewing). He accumulated the fourth-most quarterback sacks in Saints history during his career and was a one-time Pro Bowler. There were no hymns or readings, instead guests were asked to sign a visitor's book, write on prayer cards or make a donation to Smith's charitable foundation, Thomas was also seen speaking with New Orleans police captain Billy Ceravolo at the viewing on Friday, clearly struggling under the weight of his emotions less than a week after Smith was killed, Thomas, who was also part of the 2009 Super Bowl team, had gone back to Chicago following the shooting, but returned to New Orleans Friday. They stood in front of his silver casket which was covered with a bouquet of white orchids. Having trouble viewing the video below? "She was extremely proud of Will," Lauren Renschler, a publicist for the Smith family, told The Associated Press.The Saints' official Twitter account posted a video of the ceremony showing Racquel Smith being pushed onto the stage in a wheelchair and wiping away tears. Cardell Hayes, a New Orleans East tow-truck company owner, was recently indicted on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder following Will Smith’s killing and Racquel Smith’s injuries. There was no ceremony or speeches as fans filed through the practice field, past photos of Smith. A photo showed Smith, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling as she held the diploma. The widow of former New Orleans Saints defensive end … He and his wife Racquel stayed in the area after he retired, and he remained active with various charities he's supported in the community. 'I came out today because this was a great man. Read more, Other questions:subscriberservices@theadvocate.com. 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Racquel Smith, who was shot in the legs during the attack that killed her husband, received it during Thursday's commencement ceremony.Video from the event shows her on stage in a … Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group, SNP vows to UNILATERALLY hold a second Scottish independence referendum if Sturgeon wins May election - and challenges Boris to take legal action to stop it, We can vaccinate ALL teachers, say schools: Heads send Boris a plan for huge seven-day operation  to inoculate one million staff during February half term to get schools open within a few weeks, Disney+ blocks under-sevens from watching 'racist' Peter Pan, Dumbo and The Aristocats for breaching 'content advisories', We're sadder, poorer... and fatter: Mail on Sunday survey finds Britain is suffering under lockdown - but majority say government did the RIGHT thing with Covid response. Racquel Smith, still confined to a wheelchair after she was hit in both legs during the New Orleans shooting last month, accepted the posthumous degree for the former Pro Bowler. Purchases made via links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission, Do you want to get certified in Google Analytics but never find the time to study for the exam? Sitting in a wheelchair and shielded by dark glasses, Racquel Smith, the wife of slain New Orleans Saints player Will Smith, has been seen in public for the first time since the shooting that left her husband dead. Smith, a resident of Kenner, was a member of the Saints from 2004 through 2013, helping the team reach its only two NFC title games as well as capture its lone Super Bowl championship fewer than five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The widow of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith accepted the graduate degree that her husband would have received before being shot dead last month. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. As people gathered inside to pay their respects to Smith and remember his celebrated career in the NFL, the Saints flag flew at half-staff outside. 'It really didn't hit me until I walked in here today,' she said. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson was among hundreds of people who attended the casket viewing on Friday. Smith’s 33-year-old wife, Racquel, who suffered a bullet wound to each leg on the night her husband was killed, accepted the degree while seated in a wheelchair. Many fans lingered in front of the casket. Smith was admired for his tenacity and grit on the field and for remaining in the area even after he left the team. Seems that many of us feel that brushing our teeth and showering just aren’t priorities anymore. Racquel Smith holds up the MBA her late husband, former Saints player Will Smith, was posthumously awarded by the University of Miami on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Racquel, who was shot in both legs during the vicious late night attack in central New Orleans on Saturday, leaving her with a shattered femur, was attending a casket viewing for her deceased husband alongside fellow Saints player Pierre Thomas. Video: Recovering in wheelchair, Will Smith's wife Racquel posthumously receives husband's MBA from Miami, by ramon antonio vargas rvargas@theadvocate.com, Get certified in Google Analytics in 48 hours for just $14, Smile! Smith, 34, earned the degree through the university’s inaugural “Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes” program before he was fatally shot following a traffic incident in New Orleans the night of April 9, said his publicist, Lauren Renschler. Thomas claims to have witnessed the shooting after going out for dinner with him on the night of the attack. A photo showed Smith, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling as she held the diploma. 'It broke my heart,' said Khantrell Wagner, who lives in the same New Orleans Lower Garden District neighborhood where Smith died. A photo showed Smith, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling as she held the diploma. It was during the drive home that Smith was shot eight times, seven of them in the back, killing him. Prep for the exam in just 48 hours with this discounted study course. Cardell Hayes, 28, has been accused of the brutal murder but is pleading his innocence. $37 can buy you the new standard in oral care, Save 28% on Fitbit Ionic and keep your 2021 health goals on track. The Saints tweeted a photo of Racquel Smith, sitting in a wheelchair -- still on the mend from being shot twice in the legs -- smiling as she held the degree. The pair played together on the team, New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt hugs safety Roman Harper, who plays with the Carolina Panthers. Smith's widow, Racquel Smith, attended the viewing in a wheelchair. Son Wynter (left) and daughter Lisa (center) were from his marriage to Racquel, while eldest son Will Smith Jr (right) came from a previous relationship, Smith, a defensive end, was drafted into the Saints team from Ohio State in the first round of the 2004 draft and spent his entire career with the team until retiring in 2012. Smith was a much-beloved member of the Saints organization, helping the team rebuild during its tumultuous post-Katrina season in 2005 when they traveled like nomads from stadium to stadium as the New Orleans Superdome was repaired. You have permission to edit this article. Meanwhile Fuller, wrote a letter to New Orleans police, demanding they recuse themselves from investigating the shooting. PETER HITCHENS: So is this really an epidemic of despair? In fact, a study done in March of last year had one in five people admitting that they weren’t pulling their toot… Read more, Track better with the Fitbit IonicTM GPS Fitness Smartwatch. Thomas claimed to have witnessed the shooting, and was pictured at the scene, but it is not known how he ended up there, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (facing the camera), who led Smith to Super Bowl glory in 2009, hugs former running back Darren Sproles during the viewing. And he did a lot for the city and we got to watch him every Sunday and look up to him,' said Lance Ural, from New Orleans, who was wearing a Saints T-shirt. Aside from his wife, Smith is survived by his children William, Wynter and Lisa. https://www.nola.com/news/article_8038cac0-82b3-5ec4-a42a-e9962cf0de91.html Israeli healthcare group says coronavirus infections have PLUNGED by at least 60% among vaccinated over-60s, Milly Dowler's killer Levi Bellfield 'is offered Covid jab at high-security jail before most of the rest of Britain' but MoJ insists inmates won't get preferential treatment, Boris Johnson will 'force travellers from high-risk Covid countries to quarantine in hotels for ten days' in decision to be taken on Monday, DAN HODGES: The truth Boris haters can't bear to admit - he has a plan to fight coronavirus and it's working, Britons will refuse to live 'like Troglodytes' under indefinite lockdowns, says rebel Tory MP as he urges No 10 to focus on lowering hospital admissions, ‘It's a nightmare. At the Saints' training center on Friday hundreds of people wearing the team colors of black and gold turned out to pay homage to the former defensive end who was born in New York, but became a hometown legend. Racquel Smith was shot twice in the legs during the April 9 altercation in New Orleans that killed her husband. (Photo provided by Lauren Renschler). Will Smith, 34, the former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, was tragically killed on Saturday night in what is being called a road rage incident. 'For something like this to happen it's only right that we pay our respects.'. Hayes' lawyer John Fuller has repeatedly stated that his client is not 'legally guilty' of murder, saying on Thursday that Smith was a hero to Hayes, who also played football. Racquel was also shot during the incident and spent several months in a wheelchair. In a statement, police spokesman Tyler Gamble said the homicide was getting a 'fair, thorough and complete' investigation and that they would 'follow the facts wherever they take us. On either side, large video screens showed video snippets and photos of Smith on and off the field. Racquel Smith was shot twice in the legs during the April 9 altercation in New Orleans that killed her husband. This Fitbit innovation features a 1.42" color touchscreen that serves up everything you need to know about your health, fitness, sleep, and more. She received a loud round of applause when introduced at the ceremony at the Bank United Center arena in Coral Gables, Florida, a video provided by Renschler showed. Guests were asked to sign a book and prayer cards and could make donations to Smith's 'Where There's A Will, There's a Way Foundation.'. As a mark of respect, the Saints flag outside the training ground flew at half-staff, Head coach Sean Payton paid his respects at the viewing, surrounded by fans and members of the organization, one of whom wore at t-shirt with the team's logo and Smith's name printed on the back (center), Clenched jaws, drooping faces and red eyes showed the raw emotion on display for Smith during the viewing which took place Friday, just six days after he was gunned down in his adopted home city, Thomas was also seen getting emotional as he looked at Smith's casket alongside officer Ceravolo. Published: 23:26, 15 April 2016 | Updated: 06:23, 16 April 2016. Will Smith's widow, Racquel, accepted his graduate degree posthumously during @univmiami commencement ceremony today pic.twitter.com/fmNFNKtCXf — New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 6, 2016 NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The widow of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith accepted his degree from the University of Miami on Thursday, nearly a month after he was shot and killed.A publicist for the Smith family, Lauren Renschler, said Racquel Smith accepted the degree during a graduation ceremony in Miami. Among the crowd was Smith's father, Will Smith Snr, wearing a Saints cap and black shirt, seen sitting at a table with family members, Saints head coach Sean Payton, assistant coach Joe Vitt, and owner Tom Benson; alongside former teammates and players from across the NFL. The usually-$249 wearable is now discounted 28% for a limited time. The grieving continued Friday night where — in true New Orleans fashion — a second line parade of musicians and mourners took place in the area he was killed. Racquel Smith is still confined to a wheelchair after she was hit in both legs during the New Orleans shooting on April 9. In a letter delivered Friday to Mayor Mitch Landrieu and police Superintendent Michael Harrison, Fuller charged that the investigation should be handed over to state police or the FBI due 'to a grave lack of faith in the honesty and competency' of the department's investigation. The University of Miami posthumously awarded former Saints defensive end Will Smith a master’s degree in business administration during a ceremony Thursday. Will Smith Snr, Smith's father (center), was pictured with family members at the event on Friday. In a statement provided to the news media last month, the Miami School of Business’ dean, Gene Anderson, said Smith “was a wonderful student, easygoing, well-liked, and respected by all of his classmates, faculty and staff.” Smith was set to graduate from the MBA program in July, Anderson said. A photo showed Smith, sitting in a wheelchair, smiling as she held the diploma. 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', On Friday evening musicians and revelers marched past the spot where Will Smith was shot dead in a so-called 'jazz funeral', a New Orleans tradition where celebratory music is played on the way back from a funeral, Revelers took to the street where Smith was shot wearing black and gold, the team colors of the New Orleans Saints, A makeshift memorial has been set up to Smith on the street where he was shot on Saturday night, Smith was a father-of-three. He and his wife lived in Kenner, a New Orleans suburb, and Smith commuted to Florida, where he was getting his master's degree in business at the University of Miami. Anita Harrison said she had been attending Saints games since 1969 and has been a season-ticket holder since 2000. The 34-year-old had been enrolled in the first year […] Others kneeled down in prayer or bowed their heads in respect for a few minutes of silence. "She was extremely proud of Will," she said. 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