CLEVELAND — For the first time since the tragic death of his girlfriend this past week, Browns defensive end Chris Smith has spoken publicly about her memory.
The 27-year-old Smith posted a loving tribute on Instagram to Petara Cordero, whom he called "my wifey my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter." Cordero, 26, was killed early Wednesday morning after she was struck by a car on I-90 in Cleveland.
"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," Smith wrote. "Love you baby❤️🙏🏾"
Police say both Smith and Cordero had exited his Lamborghini near West 140th Street after it apparently blew a tire and hit a median. As the two surveyed the damage, a Mazda 3 came and struck the Lamborghini' open door before striking Cordero around 2 a.m. She later died at Fairview Hospital.
The Browns confirmed Cordero had recently given birth to her and Smith's daughter, Haven Harris Smith. Team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam expressed sorrow for Cordero's loss and pledged to offer "support, comfort and any resources" to Smith and the rest of his teammates.
It has not been specified if Smith will be available when the Browns take on the New York Jets this week on Monday Night Football. Head coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters earlier this week he wants Smith to take all the time he needs before coming back.
"I know from an emotional standpoint, we’re going to support Chris," Kitchens added. "I’m going to support Chris. His teammates are going to support Chris."
FREDDIE KITCHENS: Browns supporting Chris Smith ‘in every way possible’
According to authorities, the 47-year-old woman who was driving the Mazda that struck Cordero admitted to drinking before the crash. However, toxicology reports are still pending, and no charges have been filed at this time. Officials further stress that Smith was not impaired during the incident.