Saints News

Payton: Will Smith Would Have Coached D-Line in 2016

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Apr 15, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to former players Lance Moore (left) and Reggie Bush (right) along with former New Orleans police Capt. Billy Ceravolo a friend of Will Smith during visitation hosted by the New Orleans Saints and the family of Will Smith for former NFL teammates, fans and guests wishing to pay their final respects to Will Smith at the Saints indoor practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to former players Lance Moore (left) and Reggie Bush (right) along with former New Orleans police Capt. Billy Ceravolo a friend of Will Smith during visitation hosted by the New Orleans Saints and the family of Will Smith for former NFL teammates, fans and guests wishing to pay their final respects to Will Smith at the Saints indoor practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans Saints Legend, the late Will Smith, would have been on the sideline in 2016 coaching the Defensive Line.

There had been rumors that Will Smith was slated to join the New Orleans Saints coaching staff in some capacity. Sean Payton, in his victim impact statement, made those rumors explicit. Will Smith would have coached the D-Line, and 2016 would have been his first year.

It’s unclear if Smith would have been the D-Line coach or an assistant. But considering the Saints were clearly in the market for a new main DL coach, there’s every reason to believe he would have had Ryan Nielsen’s job.

There’s not much to say about this revelation than damn. Salt on the wound. Ryan Nielsen is by all accounts going to be a great coach. But it would have been nice to see Smith, a fan favorite, roaming the sidelines.

In the end, it’s nothing more than a taste of what those close to Smith lost that night, and what all victims of gun violence lose night in and night out around the country and around the world. Senseless things happen in life, but life is not a senseless place. It is a reminder: don’t take for granted what you have. Don’t take for granted the people close to you or the fact that you wake up, every day, for another run through the mill.

Would I like to see gun law reform? Yes. But this reaches beyond that topic, beyond politics. Life is fleeting, and is so wildly important. Will Smith had the opportunity to touch a great many more people than you or I ever will, but each and every one of us has loved ones. So take care of yourself, and take care of each other.

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