Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Will Smith was laid to rest on Saturday, with a casket viewing and memorial service held on Friday. Smith's wife Racquel Smith, who was in a wheelchair from the injuries she sustained from the shooting, was joined by Smith's family, fans, and many Saints players and coaches who came to the Saints training facility, where the memorial was held, to show their respect.
Fellow Saints player Pierre Thomas, who has claimed to have seen the shooting after he and the Smiths were out for dinner, was in attendance. Other Saints came as well, including head coach Sean Payton, assistant coach Joe Vitt, and former Saints safety Roman Harper, among many others. Outside the facility, the Saints flag flew at half-mast.
Scores of fans came out donning the Saints black and gold, to honor a man who became a homeotown hero following the aftermath of Katrina, not only sticking around while the team, and the city, struggled to get back on their feet, but also making history by being a part of the 2009 team that brought New Orleans their first Super Bowl title.
"I came out today because this was a great man. And he did a lot for the city and we got to watch him every Sunday and look up to him," said Lance Ural, a New Orleans native, who was wearing a Saints T-shirt. "For something like this to happen it's only right that we pay our respects."
On Friday evening, fans took to the streets to perform the New Orleans' ritual, "jazz festival." Fans, dressed in Saints colors sang and played musicians as they celebrated Smith's life, and mourned his tragic passing.
A private funeral was held Saturday, when Smith was finally laid to rest.
Catch up on the events that lead up to Smith's tragic death with this BET Break:
(Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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