Saints players, coaches pay their respects at Will Smith memorial

78
Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 9:24 AM

-- Dozens of Will Smith'south former teammates and coaches, as well as  Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson and other executives, joined Smith'south wife, Racquel, and three children Friday at a public visitation for the late defensive finish interior the team practice facility.

Saints players, coaches pay their respects at Will Smith memorial

METAIRIE, La. -- Dozens of Will Smith'south former teammates and coaches, as well as  Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson and other executives, joined Smith'south wife, Racquel, and three children Friday at a public visitation for the late defensive finish interior the team practice facility.

Hundreds of fans walked through displays of videos, photos and replica lockers filled with Smith'south gear from his days with the Saints, OH State Buckeyes and Proctor High School in Utica, New York.

Meanwhile, off to the side, a reunion sprang up in Smith'south honor, including players who spanned multiple eras of Saints football: Steve Gleason, Deuce McAllister, Aaron Brooks, Donte' Stallworth, Charles Grant, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Vilma, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles, Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Goodwin, Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Sedrick Ellis, Jabari Greer, Cameron Jordan and many others. Many more, including Saints quarterback Drew Brees, will be on hand Saturday for a private funeral ceremony.

Guard Jahri Evans sported a Will Smith No. ninety-one jersey, and players hugged and shared elderly memories with one another, as well as with Smith'south longtime coaches Sean Payton, Joe Vitt and Bill Johnson and common manager Mickey Loomis.

"That just goes to indicate you the impact he had," one former teammate said of the turnout.

One of the most poignant moments came when a fan stood before Smith'south casket and played "When the Saints Goes Marching In" on a horned instrument. The music carried throughout the cavernous practice facility.

Also in attendance Friday were former Saints running back Pierre Thomas and former New Orleans police Capt Billy Ceravolo, two of Smith'south near friends who were out with him Saturday night, before he was shot and killed following a traffic incident in New Orleans' lower Garden District.

Thomas' emotion was evident, as it was in a recent Instagram post in which he expressed outrage and disbelief over what he said he witnessed.

It'south still unclear if Thomas witnessed the dispute between Smith and shooter Cardell Hayes, which led to Smith'south being shot eight times and Racquel'south being shot twice in her legs. Thomas was on the scene shortly after the shooting occurred, and both he and Ceravolo will be central figures in the case against Hayes, who's been booked for second-degree murder and is currently being held on $1 million bond.

Hayes' attorney, John Fuller, filed subpoena requests Friday seeking testimony from both Thomas and Ceravolo for the preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for April 28.

Fuller has said his client wasn't the aggressor in the incident. He claimed that a witness described "untoward behavior" from a former NOPD officer on the scene after the shooting, though he's not identified that officer by name. Fuller issued a letter to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday asking that the NOPD be withdrawn from the investigation.

Friday was a day filled with remembrances of both Smith and former Saints running back, scout and color commentator Hokie Gajan, who died Monday after a battle with cancer. Gajan'south visitation and funeral were held earlier Friday and were attended by some of the same fans and members of the Saints organization who later attended Smith's visitation.

A digital display of Smith'south No. ninety-one and Gajan'south No. forty-six was showcased on the side of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brees tweeted a photo of the display later Friday.

In a local tradition, a second-line parade, in Smith'south honor was planned by local businesses and musicians Friday night close the scene of Smith's shooting.

READ ALSO
Hernandez hits two HRs off Bumgarner; Dodgers top Giants 7-3

Hernandez hits two HRs off Bumgarner; Dodgers top Giants 7-3

Kershaw (2-0) was charged with three runs — two earned — and five hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and number walks. The Giants scored their first two runs on the left-hander'south first two wild pitches of the season.

78
Morales, Volquez lead the Royals past the Athletics, 4-2

Morales, Volquez lead the Royals past the Athletics, 4-2

Edinson Volquez (2-0) pitched six innings, retiring seven of the latest eight batters he faced. He gave up two runs on four hits, walking four and striking out two.

82
Father of River Cats manager Jose Alguacil dies

Father of River Cats manager Jose Alguacil dies

Their manager, Jose Alguacil, had to fly back to his native Venezuela beforehand as a result of the death of his father, Jesus Alguacil. Number details were available at game time on the death of the father of the River Cats’ 43-year-old manager, who was born in Caracas.

66